An Overview of the Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa (GAP)
A Project for the Holistic Development of the Underprivileged Children
The Background of the Project – Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa (GAP):
The children in modern society, being fortunate enough to have come under the influence of technological development and other sweeping changes in socio-political sphere, are empowered by the benefits of a global way of life. On the other hand, a still larger section of children in society, caught in the jaws of poverty, illiteracy, superstition, and narrow-mindedness, are unable to break through the entry barriers to the benefits of modernization. India’s vast number of slum children, street children and rural children are deprived of the basic necessities like food, nutrition, medical care and education.
The Launching of GAP – Nine Years Back
Keeping the aforesaid social conditions in mind, the Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa (GAP) was launched in October 2010, as a part of the 4-year long 150th Birth Anniversary Celebration of Swami Vivekananda, for the 3-fold development of the needy and backward children – physical, mental and intellectual, and since then, it has been running up till now in different parts of India. The project ‘Gadadhar Abhyudaya Prakalpa’ (GAP), named after the childhood name of Sri Ramakrishna, i.e., ‘Gadadhar’, is being implemented for the betterment of the neglected slum and rural children who are often brought from the roadside huts and highly unhygienic garbage-damping areas.
The Primary Aims of GAP
(a) To instil moral and cultural values in the aforesaid targeted children
(b) To educate them with special coaching on their school subjects
(c) To inculcate a sense of cleanliness and hygiene in them
(d) To nourish them for their physical development
(e) To prepare them to be good citizens of India
The Implementation of GAP
The GAP is a composite programme having different activities for physical, mental and intellectual development of the aforesaid targeted children (aged 5 – 12 years) as explained below. This programme is conducted daily for about 2 – 3 hours (about 25 days in a month), in the morning and/or evening.
Activities for Physical Development:
The children get a scope to participate in various games and exercises. They are provided sports items for the same. Students are given basic training on health and hygiene, in toilet practice, necessity of safe drinking water, brushing teeth, washing hands, clipping nails, using mosquito net at night, etc. Developing a sense of community participation in keeping the living quarters and environment clean and hygienic, are taught to the children by creating general health awareness. Periodical health check-ups are organised to monitor their body-weight and height, etc., and thereby keep them healthy. Minimum medicines, wherever required, are administered as per the doctor’s advice. At the end of each day’s programme, nutritive food supplements are served to all the participants, to counter the problem of malnutrition.
As a part of the Physical Development, the GAP children are periodically provided with the following items: umbrellas / raincoats, footwear, warm clothes, toiletry items (e.g., toothpaste, toothbrush, tongue-cleaner, soap, oil, nail-clipper, towel, etc.), etc.
Activities for Mental Development:
The children are exposed to various arts & skills as per the local culture and tradition in music, drama, chanting, painting etc. Universal prayers are taught to instil national integration and to encourage holistic living. Generally, the GAP starts with prayers. The children are also guided to practise meditation and yoga under the guidance of competent teachers.
Value Education is also part of the GAP programme. The lives of great personalities in the field of literature, religion, history, freedom movement, etc. are taught to the students so that they can imbibe their noble qualities and sacrifice for the cause. Periodically, films on Value Education and other inspirational themes are screened to the students for exposing our national heritage and culture.
The children are also taken on educational / cultural tours to the places of importance. They are also encouraged to perform from stage during various cultural programmes.
The dedicated teachers of the GAP are the right mentors of these children with proper attitude and awareness. Gifted with a healthy mental frame, they instil a healthy mentality into the children. They try to help in:
- Nurturing the child
- Imparting values in the child
- Moulding the character of the child
- Teaching good habits that a child can cultivate at home
As a part of the Mental Development, the GAP children are periodically provided with the following items: Pictorial moral story books, CDs/ DVDs, coloured pencils, etc.
Activities for Intellectual Development:
The children are provided special coaching in their academic subjects, as it is often found that these poverty-stricken children do not get a good academic care in their schools. The non-school-goers are given special attention and gradually they get admitted in schools where they are found to excel.
As a part of the Intellectual Development, the GAP children are periodically provided with the following items: school bags, school uniforms, study materials like notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, etc.
The Impact of GAP
The GAP project provides an opportunity to thousands of underprivileged children – irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion, etc., hailed from city slums and interior villages in different parts of India, for their aforesaid 3-fold development. The project created an immense impact on these children, their parents and localities, so much so that the inhabitants of those areas urge us to continue the project.
The Financial Aspects of GAP
The GAP was implemented during the period from October 2010 to September 2014 with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. The aforesaid impact and requests of the GAP children’s parents impelled us to continue the project even after the Govt. fund stopped, i.e., after September 2014, with meagre donation collected for the same from the generous public and also with the financial support of some corporate houses.
Anyway, to continue a total of about 170 GAP units, a continual financial assistance is very much required. These GAP units cover about 9000 underprivileged children – born in poverty-stricken families of city slums and interior villages. Such areas are surveyed before selecting the children, by our monks and volunteers. One GAP unit covers about 50 underprivileged children. Yearly about Rs. 6 Lakhs is required to provide the aforesaid moderate benefits to the children of one GAP unit.
The Administrative Aspects of The GAP Project
Implementation through the branch centres: The said GAP units are run through our branch centres situated in different parts of India. Our monks and volunteers look after this project with service-mindedness. Their loving attention and care gradually unfold the potentialities of the uncared-for children. The GAP teachers take classes on schools subjects, exercises, meditation, painting, singing, value education, etc. according to a daily routine.
Role of the Headquarters: These GAP units are monitored and funded through our Headquarters from where the yearly required funds are disbursed to the implementing branch centres in instalments. Hence, to run the GAP units as a whole, the financial assistance of the service-minded individuals and philanthropic organisations is hereby sincerely sought.
Evaluation & Monitoring: The monitoring of the GAP is not only based on the reports and accounts sent by our centres from time to time. It is also done through direct information from the project sites. A team of monks from the Headquarters visits the GAP-implementing places to oversee the activities and to collect the first-hand information. If required, the concerned persons are advised about the changes required in the project in respect of the GAP guidelines sent to them. Proper implementation of GAP is thus ensured. Besides, some parameters related to the children’s physical, mental & intellectual growth are also periodically measured and analysed, and its overall result is very satisfactory. The children excelling in various parameters are awarded with prizes, to inspire other children.
The Requirement of Funds: The positive impact of GAP project impels us to continue it. So, we would like to run the GAP in future as long as we get the required funds.
The financial help of any individual and organisation to our Mission for the GAP Project may come in the form of Corpus Fund the interest of which will be utilized for running the GAP units, or as simple Contributions to run the GAP units. The corporate houses may provide their CSR funds to our Mission in running as many GAP units as possible for some years, and it will be a great help in continuing this noble project. For any query regarding the GAP Project, please feel free to write to: [email protected].
The Final Words
It is essential to understand the growing stages of a child. This will facilitate the process of life-building. Right from the beginning, if the children are not encouraged, it becomes very difficult to impart values to them in their later lives.
It is because of the want of proper guidance during the childhood that causes youth often deviate from the right path and waste their lives. They come to realize the undoing too late. It is a common phenomenon now-a-days to find how the youth are being misguided and their energy exploited in anti-social, harmful and subversive acts.
Through the GAP, all the children’s needs – not only the basic education, but also an integrated development of body, mind and intellect to fully manifest the hidden potential of being the enlightened citizens enabling them to effectively participate in national and global development, are attempted to fulfil. Thus, the GAP promotes an integrated and harmonious individual and social life enabling the nation and citizens to grow in chorus. So, kindly help us sustain the GAP project.