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This year is very special for Janyaa for multiple reasons. We had a very successful fundraising Gala in April, we are initiating new programs, adding numerous new experiments and more.. We are also doing it solo, so one less thing to focus on. But phew, have never seen so many Dandias in Bay area. It’s difficult, but hey, when you have a fabulous team, why worry? We continue to get fabulous volunteers to support us.

When the team asked me to lead this year’s fund raising Dandia, I immediately jumped at the opportunity as dance has been a passion since childhood. With absolutely no prior experience in hosting an event of such huge scale, I immediately worked on forming a core team who I know will deliver for sure. Things like Finances, Contracts, Logistics, Band, Sponsorships were immediately taken care of. Then the whole team focused on Marketing. Special thanks to Venu for showing us the right direction and supporting us. Whatever we did sure seemed to work as we got tremendous response from the entire community.

Two months of hard work by the team made this event possible and highly successful. In the middle of such an electrifying evening, I took a moment to stand in a corner and took it all in. Looking at beautiful smiles, happy kids, colorful attires and non stop dancing made it all worth it. More than anything I am super happy that we could raise funds for the kids who need the most.
I’m so proud of being part of a great team who worked day and night selflessly and would respond within few minutes when asked for something. Thank you Bhagavathi Kumar, Prasanna Adusumilli, Kaushik Macherla, Neha Sharma, Sreedhar Racharla for all your hard work, dedication and unimaginable passion to make this a successful event so that we can empower many under privileged children in India with hands of learning.
Special shout out to Namitha Sripathi, Rajesh Shastry, Ramadasu Puli, Abhishikta Chava, Anu Narang, Chaitali Gohel, Aarti Gupta, Karthi Gopalan, Shikha Mittal, Niraj Patel, Mansi Mavani, Sucharita Paruchuri, Subha Gupta, Alima Kanumilli, Jyoti Patel, Ruma Sanyal, Abhilasha Upadhyay, Smita Biswas for helping us along the way.

Feedback from community (posted on our Facebook page):

” Excellent event – Mind blowing. Not a single person complained and everyone is enjoying the event.Great job”
“Absolutely fantastic event ! We loved it and looking forward to the next”

“Amazing event.. we had so much fun”
“Amazing garba night.. hands down the best dandia event I have been part of”

“Excellent event! True festive experience where everyone had fun”
“Enjoyed so much! Thanks for organizing this; and count me in, next year!
Well Organized, where everyone actively participated and enjoyed by having lots of memorable moments”
Loved the POSITIVE VIBE and the kids looked super cute in desi outfits”

Team says..

“I had an awesome experience working on Dandia nite. It was very well planned and I learnt a lot”

“It was such an amazing event. Events like this motivates me to do more. Hats off!”
“This year’s dandia event was very special as it was solely organized by Janyaa. The event was planned in detail, well organized and all the aspects were taken care of. It felt nice seeing capacity crowds and the way volunteers handled the entire process in a planned way”
“I’m glad that I got an opportunity to work on this special fund raising event for Janyaa. It was a fabulous experience”

“All the hard work was well worth it for such a great event and a greater cause”

“All my tiredness and fatigue disappeared as soon as I saw it all come together. Excellent example of team work and collaboration. Go Janyaa”

More updates and pics on Facebook

– Usha

2013 memoirs

2012 memoirs

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This year we were planning Janyaa Masterminds event in October and we didn’t want to do Dandia as Masterminds was more important for us. But then Apeksha approached us on behalf of her friends and we decided to be a silent partner by not getting involved with any logistics and helping with marketing and ticket sales. So we partnered with Jhankaar Beats and helped where we can. As always our volunteers were there to help on the event day and they did a great job.

Alima was another person who helped us a lot with the event details from Janyaa’s side. She handled quite a few discussions for us. Good to have someone like her who is calm and composed all the time. 

We were helping at registration and Sreedhar Racharla took the responsibility. He is just amazing. He was meticulous. He coordinated with volunteers and took care of entire registration process with our partners overlooking the process. Thanks to him, I could go late and enjoy the time with friends. That’s when I realized, I can have more such days with fabulous people coming into the team one after the other. Enjoyed the night with friends, thanks to wonderful volunteers and a great effort from Sreedhar.

We settled the accounts with Apeksha and Alima and that’s how that journey ended for 2013.

 2012 Memoirs

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Back in May 2012, Namita Sripathi wanted to volunteer for Janyaa and while talking to her she said why don’t we do Dandia. We told her that we thought about it but we didn’t get to it as we had other things to work on. She said she will help and we should do it. We spoke to Apeksha Anand from Jhankaar Beats about it and she said she will help us too. We discussed within our team and we decided to go ahead with it. That’s how Janyaa’s Dandia journey was born.

We started working on venue and we asked Raju Chidambaram in July if his band can play for our Dandia. He is the one who came up with the Disco Dandia concept. Do you remember that Raju? We decided the day as Oct 6th. He was kind enough to adjust the schedule of his other band members. On July 24th we finalized the band. We almost finalized the venue too.

The 3 musketeers who helped kick off Janyaa’s Dandia series :)

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The same night Venu received an email from Ena on working together for Utsav which they were planning for the same day. We emailed her back saying we are planning Dandia on same day indicating we cannot be part of it. She said why don’t you do it here and let’s talk about it. And that’s how we started off. Everything remained the same except for the venue – the passion to do Dandia, the team, the band, the hard work etc. continued.

Since then Janyaa team worked very hard for the event. VP was personally spending a lot of time on Utsav too. It was fun working with the girls. Ranjani Santosh: do you remember the long nights you worked on this? Venu would get emails from Karthi asking her to sleep :). Janyaa team was working on Dandia and V could afford to spend the time on Utsav. That was a great experience.

We didn’t have the budget to play our ad on radio. So we did not have any publicity on any audio/visual media. Venu gave Amitabh Bhargava both Utsav and Dandia posters and he was kind enough to help us put them up all over. We also started posting the event details online. We had 3 people do this for us. Shiva and one more girl posted on online sites. Amit Chopra (Priyanka Chopra) posted on meetups. We emailed them asking to post both Utsav/Dandia events. Amit suggested putting ads in local newspapers for Dandia. We replied back saying it will cost us and we cannot afford :).

We had a huge turnout. We don’t know how much the above marketing helped us. But we know for sure it was mainly because of few individuals we could sell majority of our tickets. Apeksha was the star selling few hundreds, Namitha sold couple of hundreds. Apeksha was very generous – she would sell to people saying the sales benefit Janyaa. She did not even use her own Jhankaar Beats. Same with all other friends. No wonder most people at the event were talking more about Janyaa. Usha rallied our SAP colleagues/friends and got couple of hundreds. They covered almost 3/4ths of the sales. Venu, Anwesa Chatterjee, Gayatri Palepu and few other friends covered almost the rest. Girls, you are just awesome. We filled up because of you.

Janyaa volunteers played a huge role as always. We couldn’t have done Dandia without them.

In the end we had an awesome event. We settled the accounts at SAP Cafe in the presence of the CEOs of Janyaa, Jhankaar Beats and WN, Sonam and treasurer for the event (Shobana). Janyaa shared the profits equally from ticket sales alone with WomenNow for providing us with the venue and for partnering with us. 

That was all the money we got from entire event – as that was what we were entitled to, as agreed. Boy, aren’t we glad to see it helped so many kids in India. And that’s how that fabulous journey ended for 2012.

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Well, here is another of our silent heroes – Manikanta Pachineelam. He is the techie who takes care of our website. How many times we go to him with all the changes? Mani, can you change the menu item, can you add this event, can you change the flier, can you add a registration page, can you change the registration page details – never ending requests. And what do we get back? Changes done in no time with no questions asked and no complaints. We wonder how can he be so patient.

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Mani has been with Janyaa from 2009. He has been helping us since then. What would we do without him. And we bet you have never seen him in any pics. That’s because all he cares about is Janyaa and not himself. He is another person in the team who doesn’t care about showing off, doesn’t want his pictures published or who doesn’t care about “recognition”. He just does his part in supporting Janyaa.

Janyaa is blessed to have someone like him in the team. And to add to this, his newly wed wife Veena donates money on her birthday to Janyaa. A perfect match for him. Her support to him is what it makes more special.

Thank you Mani and Veena for all your support to Janyaa. You guys are awesome.

Our experience tells us that when a person genuinely believes in a cause and works passionately for the same without expecting recognition/titles etc in return – that person will stick to the cause for good and ends up doing a fabulous job. Once you do your job well, fame follows. Or else you are more worried about gaining a name for yourself than benefiting the needy. Janyaa is privileged to have such people who have stuck with us for years. Kaushik is one such hero.

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Kaushik joined us because he believed. He believed in the concept, he believed in the people, he believed in the benefits children get from our work. Since 2009 he has taken up so many roles, handled variety of tasks from designing experiments, bringing sponsors, spreading the word at various events – to cleaning up after a fundraising event, to being a delivery boy to what not. Never did he find a task less or more important. He knew every bit counts and that we should roll up our sleeves and work to make it happen. If we need anything, the first person that comes to our mind is Kaushik. And he always says ‘yes’. He never worried about having a title or position or being on the stage or having his name splashed – nothing. All he focused on was the work to be done.

This year is extra special for Janyaa because we revamped the whole set of experiments. We added lot more, we added very creative/simple tools to teach Math, we adopted different techniques in our experiments, increased the quality and many other aspects for the children. Kaushik worked very hard from April in bringing these together. He helped in designing, coordinating with others, validating their experiments by checking the material/cost, making sure we are providing a simple but effective solution. We know how many long hours he spent over months to make this happen.

Thank you Kaushik. We don’t know what we would do without you. You made this happen. You delivered. You added lot of value to Janyaa and that’s what matters in the end. Janyaa is lucky to have you.

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We would also like to thank his better half Aarti Gupta for supporting him because without her understanding and support to Janyaa, it wouldn’t have been possible for him. Hats off to you girl. You are amazing.

*– Venu & Usha

If you have not heard of Janyaa before, now is the time to get to know about this great team and what they do. Janyaa, is a non-profit organization (NGO), that aims to change the lives of under-privileged rural children in India. Janyaa accomplishes this by equipping school teachers to help children solve everyday problems. The program ingrains math and science concepts by using ‘learn-by-doing’ techniques, by providing educational kits (including experiments and games) to the schools and train the teachers on the use of these kits. The results of our program is that the kids are creative problem solvers and innovative designers who can lead lives very different than their parents.

Something that might interest you more is the fact that there has been a tremendous support to Janyaa’s initiation and growth from the organization SAP, and from the employees of SAP alike!!

Venu Nadella, the founder of Janyaa,  is a SAP employee herself.  Not only did she brainstorm various ideas with her colleagues and friends from SAP before the initiation of Janyaa, SAP was also instrumental to the initiation of Janyaa in terms of financial assistance. There were several fund raising events conducted at SAP as well, that helped Janyaa, and the support that Janyaa received from her colleagues during these events is highly admirable! Kudos to all these amazing folks at SAP, and their help and continuous support is much appreciated at Janyaa!!

Some of the key members of the Janyaa team include SAP employees, Usha Hanumolu, Kaushik Macherla & Manikanta Pachineelam.

Usha Hanumolu, Vice President

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Usha Hanumolu, a software developer at SAP, Palo Alto, is the Vice President of Janyaa, and has been part of the program since its inception.

Kaushik Macherla, Secretary

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Kaushik Macherla, a software developer for SAP Labs, Palo Alto, is the Secretary of Janyaa, and has also been an active member of Janyaa since its inception in 2009.

Manikanta Pachineelam, Website Administrator

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Manikanta,  a senior software engineer in SAP Labs, is the developer and the administrator of Janyaa’s website.

Not only are these members playing key roles in the Janyaa’s program, they are also actively involved in running and managing the various events of Janyaa, like Ragaanjali (a cultural program with great maestros), Dandia Dil Se , Walk & Run Event, Sridevi – up close and personal, just to name a few. All the proceeds from these events go into helping our the rural kids.

Janyaa has also been a regular at SAP’s yearly Diversity fair for the past 3 years.

SAP-fair

The time and support of all these SAP employees, not only in terms of task execution, but also as a great source of creative ideas,  has been invaluable. Janyaa expresses its gratitude for your ongoing support and we look forward to your lasting partnership!!

Venu is now encouraging more SAP employees to get involved: “We need both financial and volunteering support,” she says. “Employees interested in making a positive impact with their spare time can get in touch with me directly to discuss volunteering opportunities from either abroad or on the ground in India.”

Start Getting Involved and Make a Difference – Join Janyaa

Janyaa has grown over the years and is gearing up to celebrate it’s 5th Anniversary! Come, join us for this event! Have fun with some amazing entertainment promised while contributing for a great cause!

You can find the event details at on Facebook

janyaa-gala

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It is one of those days that I get so caught up in stuff and ignore the needs of the tummy ….I ignore till the very last minute until I can no longer ignore it  ..the hunger hits me so hard that I can actually feel the low glucose level in my body ….followed by spells of dizziness…I can barely talk nor walk any more ….the brain function comes down to a bare minimum….. and all I am capable of doing at that point of time is drag myself to wherever the  food is available and devour on it. Even after eating quite a bit, the hunger pangs don’t die right away and they continue to hurt!

In moments like these where the hunger completely consume me, I, inevitably think of all those people in need, especially the kids who constantly have to deal with hunger on a day to day basis. And when my own hunger is taken care of because I can afford to, a wave of guilt passes over me just because, here I am, eating away to glory while there are millions out there barely having a morsel to feed on. A second wave of guilt usually then takes over …that even though I strongly empathize those going without food, I am doing nothing to solve the world’s hunger problem (apart from donating a bit of time and money to charities now and then, which feels like only a drop in the ocean).

Going through emotions happens every now and then, but today for a change, a new realization hit me in this train of thought and that brought a smile on my face! Janyaa !! Now, Janyaa’s one organization who’s enabling the students in need with a power to stand on their own! Empowering the rural and poor kids to be able to succeed in their life is a great solution to not only take care of this most basic need of hunger but also to achieve much, much more in life! And the success of one generation leads to the success of another! A very desirable ripple effect!!

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

The quote above has a great bearing on what Janyaa does!

If you would like to know more about Janyaa, and would like to participate in helping out doing your bit to change the world, please do check out,  http://janyaa.org/

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