“Be content with what you have but be discontented when it comes to the service of others.”
– T.K. Mathew
From teaching just five children in a rented house in Delhi, Deepalaya has grown to become Delhi’s largest operating NGO. Working in 149 slums in the capital, 126 villages in Haryana and 90 villages in Uttarakhand, the organisation has reached out to about 50,000 children, their families and communities over 35+ years.
As their main founder T.K. Mathew put it, “Wholesome education,” is their main focus. They also direct efforts to the girl child where ever possible – 50 per cent of their children are girls.
Their other projects and activities include community health, gender equity, mainstreaming the differently-abled and institutional care for the vulnerable.
Under community and health, they cover reproductive health, sanitation and hygiene, and eye camps.Their gender equity programmes focus on the empowerment and emancipation of women – from giving financial aid and education to women and young girls to holding seminars and workshops expressing their opposition to female infanticide and feticide.
Deepalaya also focuses on inclusion for the disabled. Deepalaya conforms to the Government norms of 3% employment of the disabled.
Other help includes providing care to mentally disabled children and youngsters. Most of the poor families cannot afford to give these children adequate medical treatment and developmental skills. Deepalaya steps in to rehabilitate the children and provide them with counselling and treatment.
They also provide institutional care to the vulnerable – runaway children, children of sex workers and other groups of vulnerable and exploited children. Apart from these in-house projects, they lobby with the government, network with other organisations and advocate with policy makers.
With such vastness and scale of activities, it’s no wonder then that Mr. T.K. Mathew says that, “Our biggest achievement has been the empowerment of several lives!” Very apt!