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Recently ISB Hyderabad students Pradipta Das, Mehak Sethi and Ankur Wadhwa visited 2 schools in Hyderabad to check Janyaa program. Here is what they have to say:

“On 13th September, our Janyaa team visited two Government schools of Hyderabad, to learn how Janyaa kits are helping the school students. We were very politely greeted by the teachers. We found that the students were very eager to demonstrate the experiments. With some help from the teachers the students from class six to nine properly demonstrated the experiments. We could observe that Janyaa kits helped students transition from bookish knowledge to actual learning which they could retain. Their enthusiasm showed us that they were no longer afraid of studies. Even teachers told that their grades have improved. They regularly used the kits to demonstrate to the students and found them really effective. Even the grades of the students have improved significantly. Overall Janyaa kits are doing a really great job in these two schools.”.

Thank you for sharing this with us. It is always a great feeling to hear wonderful comments about our program from others.

Here are pictures of children demoing the experiments. Isn’t that cool? They not only understand, but they also explain others !!! All this with our program !!

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At the time we are receiving all these wonderful comments about our Dandia this year – what better time to talk about the person who took the responsibility of organizing it and leading the team to success – Usha Hanumolu – Events lead and Vice President of Janyaa. If you are wondering why I am taking Usha’s name, here is why. I have been leading events for Janyaa for a long time now. I was under the impression I was doing a decent job. And then comes Usha who shows me how an event needs to be done. She took care of every single thing – contracts, logistics, marketing, fliers etc etc – and did not miss a thing. Best part was that she was very calm and composed “during” the event. A rare feat and an important criteria of a good leader. Though I knew her all these years and knew how well she gets things done without fail, this amazed me because there are so many little things that need to be taken care of. Here she was – taking care of every single item diligently. u2 Apart from that, she is also very patient, organized and nice to deal with. One of our sponsors had this to say ‘Venu, even if I didn’t want to sponsor, talking to her makes me feel I should. She is that sweet and genuine.’. Another sponsor said ‘finally we are dealing with someone who gives us the right information and is not focused on taking money from us’. That is Usha – who works for Janyaa without any expectations. When I was casually mentioning about her to a friend of mine, she said ‘ Venu, when someone is content with themselves, with their life in general – they don’t expect anything. They just do it’. And that is so true. Never comments about anyone, just does her job. What a personality !! She is a very special person who has been with Janyaa from day 1. In fact, our first fundraising event was her idea. Being a volleyball player herself, she said we should host a tournament. The passion with which she organized the whole thing is contagious. I had no clue – just followed her. She got us nearly 70 teams. Booking a venue, borrowing the nets, balls, preparing the courts etc etc – she did everything on her own. Since then she has been volunteering her time for Janyaa for various events and also for program related tasks. usha1 That is Usha for you. We wouldn’t be where we are without Usha. The amount of time, dedication, commitment she has given to Janyaa is just amazing. And the best part is that it still continues. This year she took up the responsibility of organizing fundraising events for Janyaa and started off with a BANG !!!. Kudos to you Usha for leading us to success.I haven’t seen many people so balanced at such young age. We are very proud of you and personally it is my privilege to know someone like you. — Venu

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

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