I had planned to take a year's sabbatical from my marketing job in London and was looking for an interesting project to volunteer for whilst in India. An old housemate of mine had previously volunteered for Deep Griha and put me in touch. I spent 10 weeks working on their HIV/AIDS awareness program, DISHA, running up to World AIDS Day which was a hugely rewarding and unforgettable experience. The DISHA team do some incredibly inspirational and often very difficult work in the slums and with outreach programs in Pune. Working in the office on the edge of the Tadiwala slum area also gave me an insight into the community which is so integral to everything this NGO does. I was able to get involved in everything from updating the website, working on fundraising packs, setting up their first newsletter, designing World Aids Day posters and writing articles on HIV related topics. I feel hugely proud to have been involved with the work that DISHA are doing even if only for a short time. It's been two years but I still miss my months in Pune with Deep Griha. The numerous chai meetings with printers, sneaking around MG road putting up HIV positive posters, battling with the intermittant power supplies, learning how to play Kabbaddi and performing a bollywood dance routine with the other volunteers in front of hundreds of people in Tadiwala slum, definitely an unforgettable experience!
In 1984 our son, a sophomore in college, toured India during a January term project. He decided to remain at Deep Griha for 3 months, introducing a program of visits between over 50 persons in Columbus, Ohio USA and Neela and Bhaskar Onawale at Deep Griha over the years since 1984. That program, based at First Community Church in Columbus, also resulted in continuing financial support of Deep Griha from 1975 to the current time, 2009. In 2008-2009 First Community members donated over $66,000 toward the Deep Griha budget and in 2008 raised funds to fund construction of a rural school outside Pune, India. Our involvement continues today, with a member of First Community scheduled to visit Deep Griha in January 2010 and a USA organization, Deep Griha USA formed as a 501 C 3 non profit organization to assist Deep Griha in the United States. We believe Deep Griha provides help to some of the poorest of the poor in the slums of Pune and has demonstrated great efficiency in making funds go as far as possible. Serving thousands each year, Deep Griha is wone of the most viable organizations we have encountered in the world. Contact Deep Griha USA at (614) 486 0827, 3074 Glenrich Pky, Columbus, Ohio 43221 or at SBWood@WowWay.com.
I visited Deep Griha in 1994 with a group of Guiders from the U.K.We were doing community service in schools and Welfare centers. It was our second day we arrived at Deep Griha to entertain, play sing and do Handicrafts with 600 children. As my group were making bommerangs and a small boy stood at the corner and did not join in when I waved to him. 3 times a waved him over when something told me "Go to the boy", as I stood with my hands on his shoulders I saw he was nearly blind.So i took him to see the lady in charge of D.G. Dr mrs Onawale was a quiet humble lady who smiled at the boy as I explained he should be referred to an Ocular Surgeon as he had a dense catarractin one eye and an corneal abrassion on the left eye thus he only had partial sight. Sit down and tell me who you are and why you know that the Dr said. I was the only Optometrist in the room and the little boy stood next to me! God works in a mysterious way! So I asked Vision Aid Overseas to let me take a team of Optometrists to examine the eyes and give out spectacles to the poor people in the slums."2,000 or so people are seen since annually with a team from the UK. And in 2000 I opened an Eye Cliunic at the Centre to examine more people- and a Mobile Clinic which goes out to other sluma and surrounding villages.In 2004 I started a charity in UK for Deep griha. THEY HAVE SO LITTLE AND WE HAVE SO MUCH. I have seen the magnificent work this good Christain lady has done for her own poor people She helps when asked and works out and opens other schools,nutrition centres(and how many are you cooking for today, I asked ans the good lady in the kitshen said,2500!) And one lady was delighted with her spectacles and cried and said I will be able to see my Granddaughter! I have been some 13 times to help this lady and support her work for anyone who comes for help she sits and works out a way to help. With more resources she could continue the work she has begun--- helping her fellow men. I have worked in Africa,malawi,Uganda,the Congo and I know this Lady works wonders with the amount she gets from donations and has helped thousands since she started 35 years ago. So any money available would indeed help those poor people.She is a miracle worker. So why not help too?
I first came to know the Deep Griha Society in 1985, when I took a party of young people from the UK on a Youth Exchange. Several of those young people were so inspired that they went back as volunteers. I have been back on a number of occasions and have admired the many new developments in response to identified needs. On my last visit, I was inspired when I saw the beginning of Vidyanagari, which will give opportunities for English Medium education and community development in a rural area, which lacks these facilities. Part of the poem I was inspired to write:- We catch Deep Griha’s vision as we look.. Where needs of local folk are satisfied. Fresh opportunities will then be found For eager students, gaining skills they need. The rhythm changes with the changing scene And happy life and energy abound... Vidyanagari, City of Knowledge.... Shaping new futures; changing the view; Building community, no-one excluded; Until great dreams, not yet dreamed, become true.
Excellent experience all round with Deep Griha. Highly transparent with donations we have given. Would recommend to others, and for any volunteers wishing to work with them.
-I am sure that all the funds raised are honestly used. -This organization is essential for Pune because it tries to help people in the long term. The children of the slums can have a future with Deep Grih: informatics classes, meals given, medical assistance...
When I first arrived in Pune in January 2005, my plan was to volunteer with Deep Griha for just a few weeks. It's almost 5 years later now and I'm delighted that I'm still associated with the organisation. I worked as a full-time volunteer for roughly 2 years, and have been part-time volunteer since mid 2007. Along the way I have been privileged to interact with many amazing staff members, beneficiaries, and volunteers - several of whom have also posted their experiences on this site. Along the way I have seen many of Deep Griha's projects in action. The organisation runs a huge range of programmes; of course, this breadth comes with its own set of challenges. As with many NGOs, Deep Griha faces a constant battle to secure funds [declaration of interest: I am married to the chief fundraiser!] and yet Dr Neela and her team have always remained committed to doing the best they can with the resources available to them. Certainly, anyone who has ever visited the Family Welfare Centre on Tadiwala Road will be able to confirm just how every inch of the building is utilised for one project or another.
I have been volunteering for DGS now for about a month. The organisation does fantastic work t supporting the slum communities in Pune. Volunteers are taken round all of the projects, including City of Child and City of Knowledge outside of the city. It has been a really great learning experience seeing all of these projects, and being able to discover how an NGO such as DGS works. The staff are friendly and I have been made to feel very welcome.
Have seen the great work that they do via members of our church of have worked at this location for many months.
It was amazing. The people working for DGS are saving and improving the lives of thousands every single day. They work closely to improve the poverty situation in the area s well as women and child impowerment and provide educatin to eliminate the issue of HIV/AIDS.