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.
While on-site with the Deep Griha staff in Pune, India, I learned of their wonderful story. Starting from part time medical support in her own home, Dr. Neela Onawale, and her Board, have built an organization providing a wide variety of services to their beneficiaries in the slums of Pune. There seems to be no issue, problem, or need they have not tackled, and all in a practical, meaningful way in which significant results of service have been the outcome. Courage and caring are demonstrated every day by all involved.
Two summers ago I traveled to India from the United States and had the opportunity to volunteer at Deep Griha's City of Child. I found the organization through FSL India, and wasn't sure what to expect. After spending a day in Mumbai and traveling to Pune to meet up with my fellow volunteers, we were taken to meet the staff of Deep Griha and learn about their many projects. I was so impressed with the scope of work the organization did within the City of Pune. Everything from Women Empowerment through business, to AIDS awareness, and child and family wellness programs. We were so lucky to be present during their Anniversary Celebration, which the community welcomed us. I felt blessed to be able to rejoice with the people of Pune for all of the successes and accomplishments of Deep Griha Society. That evening we traveled to City of Child, where we send the next two weeks. It was incredible to me that for the hardships some of these children have seen at a young age (to be orphaned,) they all seemed very happy because of the wonderful staff and environment. The manager of the compound, Preshant, and his wife, Teena, were caring, happy people, who obviously loved all of those children. I was very much in awe when I met the founders of Deep Griha, Rev Bhaskar and Dr. Neela Onawale. Upon returning to America I began to sponsor a Child through Deep Griha because I know the kind of positive welfare little Sujata is surrounded by through this group. I would love to some day return to see the wonderful people of Deep Griha Society.
I spent 3 months with Wake Up Pune (www.wakeuppune.org), as the coordinator where I ran advocacy programs in the middle and upper class in Pune, India. Wake Up Pune is a part of Deep Griha Society's DISHA (an initiative for HIV and AIDS). I loved my time and DGS, the people I worked with were very friendly, and supportive, and ALWAYS willing to help. There was never a shortage of work to do (although there was a shortage of computers to use), and I was trusted with a lot of responsiblities which enabled me to take my own initaives and support them. Ever since my time volunteering last year, I have continued to raise money for DGS at my university campus in the USA. My work there has inspired and motivated me to continue working with those affected by HIV, and I have done this on both my university campus, and am currently pursuing my Masters in the Control of Infectious Diseases, so I can continue this as a career choice. Below is what my responsibilities involved: Wake Up Pune Coordinator, Wake Up Pune May – August 2008 1) Created, planned, and conducted “24-Hour Drama” in which 20 high school students wrote, practiced, and presented a play about stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV. 2) Organized and oversaw the first two “HIV BootCamp” two-day workshops in which youth learned about HIV and created and implemented awareness projects. 3) Administered 10 public recruiting events to inform students and public about HIV advocacy Designed, wrote, and published first bi-monthly newsletter that was distributed to 2000 people.