Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When I went back to school…

“Remember…bus will leave at 8:30 sharp – be ready in the morning” Captain reminded me like a school headmaster. Any why not, it was ages since I went to school in a school bus. Come next morning, like a good student, guess what I was among the first one in the bus with the first and second grade Gurukulam students. Little did I knew, I was in for a big surprise that morning…

The moment I enter the bus, I see these little angles welcoming me like an old friend – I hear a chorus - “Good Morning Sir. Please come and have a seat next to me…” I was literally taken off guard by the confidence and the boldness of these tiny little kids. I was telling myself I was the most shy kid around at that age, and here are the bunch of kids who were literally assaulting me with their confidence! I took a seat next to Pavithra and asked her about her favorite poem, and guess what; the next opera was the “Boogie Woogie” rhyme. If this was less, Asmitha shouted “I like Cinderella story – do you want to hear it?” Pleasantly surprised, I nodded and next 20 minute ride witnessed a chorus on “Cinderella”, “Snow white” and the “Golden Axe” stories. I just couldn’t believe that these kids are first generation learners speaking so fluently to even take a native speaker by surprise. With such a roller coaster ride, I never realized we had already reached the school.

With an assembly of 143 students from LKG to 6th grade, roared with National Anthem during the weekly National Flag hoisting ceremony. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Vice Principal distributing gifts to the birthday kids during the assembly. In no time, students were back in class and school was buzzing with activity. As I enter the first grade, I’m greeted with “Good Morning Sir!” I couldn’t help noticing the artistic “English” on the blackboard with “E” beautifully morphed as a cute little cat. My curiosity zooms and I ask “Who has drawn this beautiful cat?” Quick comes the reply “It’s our English teacher. I can also draw it.” I gesture Aishwarya and with a confident stoke of hand, she mirrors the exact ‘painting’. Not to mention, I was really surprised to see this from a first grader.

I can go on and on with similar surprises throughout the day, but there is one particular incident which I can never forget my life. Its grade 6 and thought for the day on the blackboard is “Dare to do the right, fear to do the wrong”. Interesting I said and asked “Can anyone explain me the meaning of this thought?” I knew this was tricky for anyone to explain, but given the days experience I’d started to expect the unexpected now. Guess what, Pragadeesh summarizes it all – “When you do the right, you should come forward!”

The comment from Pragadeesh really made my day. I’ve been visiting Gurukulam since its humble beginning in 2004 with 20 students and a handful of volunteers who shared Captain’s vision of “breaking the viscous cycle of poverty-manual labor by empowerment through education to the under privileged”. With 143 students and a dedicated staff of 6 teachers and an academic advisor, Gurukulam has come a long way. What really amazes me is the fluency in English of these children and more importantly, the confidence these kids have developed. Hats off to the dedicated teachers, especially in an environment where the children are first generation learners.

I met Captain later in the say with some awe and he is quick to add ”We have come a long way and still have a long way to go. Lets get back to work!” It is with some sense of pride, I sign off my visit signing up for the next mission – raising $12,000 for the construction of upcoming science laboratory. Looks like an upheaval task, but as they say a thousand mile journey starts with a single step…I hope to catch up Gurukulam students working at the lab during my next visit… :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Talented Children

Our children had a colorful Rangoli Day :-)

They are so talented...what started as a Rangoli competition for the 4th 5th and 6th grades on the 4th Nov, ended up as an eye opener for all of us...Our children are very talented :-)

The school house "Tiger" won the competition with their "India" under Ms Hasan

The school house "Whales" came a close runner up with their "Lord Ganesh" under Mrs Grace Lilly.

Mr Ravikrishnan our Committee Member, Mr Murali our Karate instructor and Mr Vajaravelu our Yoga instructor were the judges.

Way to go children... :-)

Parents Teachers Meet

Mrs Shuba Subramaniam our Academic Advisor, Mr Ravikrishnan our Committee Member along with Ms Shabana and Mr Parvez our Vice Principals' conducted the Parents Teachers meet on the 23rd Oct 2010.

The importance of bringing the children on time to school, not being absent unless due to a medical condition, the importance of helping the child with a conducive atmosphere at home were all reiterated.

The parents then had a look at their children's art work and were ALL SMILES :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another BIG Heart :-)

Mrs Meera along with our Academic Advisor Mrs Shuba Subramaniam took a very different class for our children on 23rd Oct 2010.

Mrs Meera joined in as a volunteer and taught the children to make
1) paper bags
and 2) Vegetable salads

...after which all the children enjoyed some delicious salads :-)

Mrs Meera also spoke about the importance of vegetables in the daily diet.

Thank you Mrs Meera :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Children's Day

The program started with a prayer by the girls of class VI

There were a myriad of shows from the teachers and the students…a truly memorable children’s day

Dhanapriya and Pragadeesh of Class VI were the MCs’ for the day

  1. It started with a colourful fancy dress competition – Farah of Class II took everyone’s heart away as “Avvaiyar”. There were a galore of policemen, doctors, engineers and more :-)
  2. UKG sang their rhymes…as cutely as only they can.
  3. Followed by songs from Class IV and V
  4. Mr Abul, our Math teacher came forward with mimicry.
  5. Class II came out with 2 dances…”Alekra” from “Kanthasami” and “ooh lala”
  6. To beat that, class VI came out with “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” :-)
  7. Not to be outdone, Rahamath Bhee our caretaker came out with a Tamil song…we are getting to know how talented our staff are!
  8. It gets even better with a Puppet Show from our Yoga Teacher.
  9. Then came a group song by all the teachers with Ms Shabana and Ms Hasan dressed up as school children :-) They literally stole evryone’s heart in the program…
  10. To top the program the teachers put up a dance show! Ms Hasan, Ms Shabana and Ms Sujatha put up a lovely dance together…

Now came the games…truly a happy children’s day :-)

Musical chairs, Blind fold pot breaking, Lucky Dip, Ball in the basket….and on and on. Just loads of fun for the children on Children’s Day.

Kudos to Mr Abul for putting together one of the most memorable evenings...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sanjay Shetty runs the Philadelphia Marathon for Gurukulam Children

Sanjay V Shetty who regularly sponsors the annual education of Mstr. Khadar Hussain, a VI Std. child at Trust Children's Gurukulam School, has taken a big step forward in supporting the entire School by running the Philadelphia Marathon. Like all marathons sanctioned by USA Track & Field, the Philadelphia Marathon is 26.2 miles (42.16 kilometers), and Sanjay will run this stretch on Sunday, November 21st, 2010 urging all his supporters, friends, and fans to support the education for the underprivileged children at Gurukulam School.

The staff and children of Gurukulam School are extremely thankful to Sanjay for representing us and for taking the effort to spread the message. We request all our sponsors, friends, and well wishers to support Sanjay and help him make a difference to the lives of the children at Gurukulam. Below are a few words from Sanjay himself.


I am Sanjay V Shetty and I am running the Philadelphia Marathon on 21st November, 2010 for the underprivileged children at Gurukulam School, a Trust Children Organization.

I strongly believe that each and every child has the right to pursue a life filled with happiness. While education is a critical tool in this life long pursuit, not all children are privileged to get it. Trust Children, with its FREE education, offers this opportunity to underprivileged kids. The Trust has worked hard for many years to bring happiness to over a hundred children and it continues to alter life at an early age in a meaningful way.

Being an investment professional, I believe that Trust Children is an efficient channel for privileged donors to support this cause. Since all administrative costs are borne by Trust Children Trustees and Committee Members, every penny of your contribution reaches the Gurukulam children directly. This makes Trust Children an ideal medium for me to give and help. And I invite you to join me and the hard working team at Trust Children to take this forward.

I am reaching out to invite you all to join me in this worthy cause. Please use the link below to donate to Trust Children via Gurukulam, Inc, a registered non-profit in the United States. Donations to Gurukulam Inc are tax exempt as per section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 100% of the funds received by Gurukulam Inc in the US is transferred to Trust Children.

I greatly appreciate your generosity.

For any additional information, please visit the Trust Children website, or you can also reach me directly at or 215.760.0313.

Best Regards,

Sanjay V. Shetty
Philadephia, USA

Monday, October 18, 2010


Ladies and Gentleman, may I kindly introduce a new part of TrustChildren. A brand new page on the revolutionary website – Facebook. On the site we’ve got lots of information, pictures and videos. The site gets updated every week, so it tells the world what’s happening as it happens.

This fully operational and functioning apart of TrustChildren‘s online awareness has picked up like wildfire. We have many people from all over the world taking notice of the hard work that is happening in India and the word is spreading....

Feel free to have a look at -

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another young BIG heart :-)

Nitish is another young man with a BIG heart :-)

Here is the story of another teenager who has touched our hearts at Gurukulam.

Nitish is studying his 1st year of A Level in UK (XII as in India). He formulated and conducted a spoken English class for our children - with such a depth of thought and research, that it amazed me...

Nitish is now taken on another big challenge - he is managing the "facebook" for Trust Children all by himself!! You can meet him at

Dear Nitish, thank you for taking time off from your studies, sports, free time and lending a hand to those who are not so lucky...thank you from all of us at Gurukulam :-)

Vijayadasami Celebrations

True to our appreciation of all religions, our school celebrated Vijaydasami - prayers to the goddess of learning.

As told about it by our Vice Principal, Primary School, Ms Shabana Begum "Today all the children assembled in a classroom and were told the importance of praying to God who will help them in their everyday studies and fulfill their vision and dreams in education. This was done to inculcate in them that hard work in education is very important. And if they pray to God, He will help them, assist them in their everyday studies. They were told that - Prayer + hard work is the key to success. All of them prayed and understood the importance and then enjoyed the snacks".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Just as the Gurukul of yore, our children actively help in keeping their school clean...

Ms Anusya, who was the teacher in charge of the school cleanliness until Sept 2010 gave away prizes for the children who had put in their best...

Let us pray that our children grow up to be good human beings who will help themselves and help others...who find joy in all things great and small...

Our kids have done it again :-)

Our kids have done it again :-) in the National Level.

In the "All India Open Karate Championship" held at Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu, on 25th and 26th of Sept, our children brought back a good medal tally

1. Pragadeesh-- Individual Kata III place. Team Kata II place
2.Anandh of grade -IV-- Team Kata II place
3. K.Arunkumar of grade IV- Team Kata II place
4. Varsha of Grade VI- Individual Kata II Place.Team Kata II place.Kumite III Place
5. Dharani- Team Kata II place.Kumite III place
6. Dhanapriya-VI grade- Team Kata II place
7. Shilpa-Grade IV- Kumite III Place.

Our loving congratulations to the kids on their effort and Sensei Ravikrishnan and Sensei Murali on their continuous efforts in bringing up our children to standard...