Thursday, January 28, 2010

Women Mean Business

We think the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women is great, and had the great pleasure of spekaing with Cherie at Plan International's Because I Am A Girl launch event last year. So when they asked if we wanted to set up a booth on Goal at their Women Mean Business event in Mumbai, we jumped at the chance.

We heard the event was a big success from our Mumbai Goal coordinator Namrata, who had this to report:

"The conference enabled us to get a glimpse into the illustrious lives of India’s most highly successful professionals along with an opportunity to gain from their knowledge and experience!

The Chief Guest for the conference was Ms Cherie Blair herself. It was indeed wonderful to listen to Ms Blair talk about how to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in countries where they lack equal opportunities so that they can grow their business and become greater contributors to their economies.

The conference was divided into six sessions enabling participants to choose from. The first session began with a welcome speech by Indu Shahani, Sheriff of Mumbai. The main sessions looked at Triumphs, Tribulations and Challenges on the way to the Top –Leadership: Next Step Up, Entrepreneurship: Essential Factors in starting a Business and Giving Back to the community, The Untrodden Path: Unconventional Career Choices and Dress for Success.

It was a great opportunity for me to be part of the conference. In a society which has been largely male dominated, it was very inspiring to listen to the experiences of so many successful women in India today. From achieving great laurels in various fields from the corporate world to Government services, women in India have emerged as leaders in both thought and action and it made me proud to see that we have so many of them.

Besides the panel discussions, various organizations and NGO had put up their stalls and Goal too had a stall. It felt great to have Ms Cherie Blair visit our stall. This was a good platform to present our program to all and share our experience."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More pictures from our Chennai launch

Goal India partners Naz and Nalamdana did such a lovely job with our launch in Chennai. Special thanks to Padmini, our Bank volunteer coordinator in Chennai who attended. Check out our album - how awesome are our girls?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

YouTube Video Channel is live!

We're getting the hang of this social media thing :) We've just launched a brand new YouTube channel with some the first cuts of our video diary project. Check us out and leave comments!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spotlight Follow-up: Checking in with Sandhya

Last year we told you about Sandhya, our Goal Champion in Delhi doing great things with netball. Today from Kalyani we got an update on Sandhya's progress in Goal:

There has been tremendous change in Sandhya over the last one year. She has become more confident and professional in her attitude. As a Goal Champion, Sandhya had been conducting netball sessions at all the Goal sites and also facilitating sessions with the new girls.

After observing her sincerity and dedication towards the program, Goal program hired Sandhya as a part-time coach on the Goal Delhi programme. It was a great achievement for Sandhya to be the one among all the girls to be chosen as a coach.

Sandhya works as a part of team, coaching the new girls in netball and also assisting with the module delivery.She has also been provided a lot of inputs for personal development: she has been exposed to trainings on health and sexuality. She also got two opportunities to participate in national netball tournaments. In October 2009, she went to Chattisgarh and their team bagged second position in the tournament and in December Sandhya participated in the National Tournament at Nasik.

Sandhya’s family and school feel extremely proud of her achievement. She now aspires to complete her XII grade and pursue a course in physical education. She has travelled a long journey from being a prankster and a bully to a sincere, hardworking and disciplined person.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Goal Chennai goes live!

After months of planning, Goal was finally launched in Chennai  at the Thoraipakkam Government High School, on the 8th January. Kalyani provided us with this report:

There were unexpected showers on that day and despite the rain 250 girls from the 7th and 8th standards attended the launch, and showed a lot of enthusiasm to enroll in Goal.

The event had the Head Master, the entire Nalamdana team, a few parents of the students, some teachers and Shashi Ravichandran, Head of Corporate Affairs, and Standard Chartered staff.

Mr. Sampath of Nalamdana welcomed everyone, after which the school Head Master, Mr.Kalaiselvam addressed the students about the importance of playing and sports to growing girls. He said that there was almost no opportunity or encouragement for the girls to play outdoors outside school, whereas the boys would always find somewhere to go and play cricket. Even within school, the girls hardly ever take the initiative to go out and play. He said that he was honored that Nalamdana had picked his school to promote a women’s sport and empower the girls.

Nithya Balaji, Executive Trustee spoke next, about Naz Foundation, Nalamdana, Standard Chartered Bank and also gave a basic outline about the programme.

Bama Jayabalan, Coordinator, Goal Chennai explained about Goal Program and highlighted the skills it would help develop, and gave details on who and how they can sign up for the program. There was a lot of enthusiasm from all the students and parents present.

This was followed by a enthusiastic session of energizers/games. The Goal Chennai team conducted a ‘Lemon n spoon race’ for the parents and teachers. The students were thrilled to see their parents and teachers run! Next there were musical chairs and a needle and thread races for some of the girls. All the fun, laughter and running around, helped reinforce how physical activity in groups/teams, can help them feel so good about themselves!

Sunitha Suren, coach for Goal Chennai then did a small demonstration of Netball, and explained the game in brief. Shashi then spoke to the girls about how they hope to help the girls with financial literacy, and provide vocational training to those who showed promise.

Girls in large numbers queued up to sign up and take home consent forms. The program ended on a high note, with a vote of thanks by Mr.Oyyavandhan of Nalamdana, thanking nature first for providing with lovely weather for the event and then thanking all the students, and invitees who had come for the event.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beautiful new photos from India

We're so excited that Global Rickshaw is doing photography and video diaries for our India programme this year. Below, check out a few of the first shots that have come through.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Run girl run!

Every year, Standard Chartered sponsors marathons around the world. The Mumbai Marathon is one of our biggest and best, and this year we're so excited that Goal participants, Champions, and coaches from Mumbai will be running with Henry Wanyoike, a Paralympic gold medalist and world track champion.

Henry knows something about overcoming challenges - although left blind in 1995 by a paralytic stroke, Henry went on to become a world champion, running marathons with his sighted partner Joseph Kibunja. Henry is an ambassador for Seeing is Believing, another Standard Chartered programme that raises funds and gives practical support to prevent and treat avoidable blindness.

Henry and Joseph Kibunja spent 2 hours yesterday with the 22 confident and enthusiastic yGoal participants in a pre-marathon training session held yesterday at the Mumbai University Sports Pavilion. During the session, Henry shared running tips with the young women while encouraging them to dream big, fearlessly pursue their goals, while always remembering to give back to their community.

“The Marathon represents the overcoming, can-do-all spirit, which is the message I want to give to whoever I interact with. Today, I feel privileged to share that message with these confident young women. As an ambassador for Seeing is Believing, I also want to encourage these women and others to give back to their communities. I am pleased that the women here will run to raise awareness for causes that are important to their community,” Henry said.

The marathon takes place on Sunday, so if you're in the area, show up and cheer on our girls!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

News from India: Charu goes to camp!

In the month of December, Charu, a Goal participant from Deepalaya, New Delhi was selected to represent the Delhi team at the 23rd Junior National Netball Championship held at Nasik, in the state of Maharashtra . She was very nervous at the thought of travelling out for a netball tournament for the first time in her life!

She travelled with the Goal Assistant Coach, Sandhya Golder to Nasik for the championship, which was held from 20th December to 25th of the month. The team put in its best and reached the qualifying levels and lost at the Quarter finals to the team from Punjab.

In the championship, Charu specifically learned about coordination. She said that earlier she never gave importance to playing as a team. She used to concentrate on her game rather than the team members. She realized the importance of team building and in coming months will try to work on it. This exposure brought home her own weaknesses and Charu realizes the need to work more on her game and improve on her passes. This tournament was an eye opener for her: She says:
“Contrary to my perception, I got to know that there are many good netball players in India and I want to become one of them!”