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The need for trouble-shooting never seems to end. The issues that we have had to proactively resolve this year are :-

1) A complicated new process for issuing passports for Adoptive children. TCS has designed new software for data entry for passports, which has been given a trial run in Karnataka. We had to get information on the RTI, on the new process and time-frame and the status of pending passports. It eventually took two months to receive the passports. The staff of the passport office seem to be on a ?go slow ? and are intimidated by the new system.

2. Family Court cases have in some instances been stuck for over one year. We tried to take up the matter with the Principal Judge Family Court and then with the Administrative Judge of the Family Court in the Karnataka High Court. I also wrote to the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court about the matter. We are planning to file a P.I.L. in the High Court on this and other related issues.

3. Renewal for Recognition for In-country and Inter-country adoption. We had to track the file through 17 desks in the DWCD and then the Department issued our In-country licence for ONE year only. After a lot of protests, this was increased to two years. Having got the In-country licence we had to start all over again for the Inter-country licence, again through the same 17 desks ! This time around the Secretary’s office asked for a ?Police Clearance ? even though CARA does not require a Police Clearance. I had to chase this further through the Police channels. The recommendation is now with CARA. Our licence is valid till the 28th of October 2010. I wish one could devote more of our time to the care of the children in all our projects, rather than unravel bureaucratic hurdles !

4. The Child Welfare Committee, Bangalore Urban, finished its term at the end of February 2010. To date, early October, the new committee is still not in place. I have met the Secretary with regard to this problem and also written to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. We are considering filing a PIL, as we are unable to produce children, or unwed mothers, as required Under Provisions of the J.J. Act.

5. I have seen the I.G. Police with regard to illegal adoptions and trafficking of children in Bangalore. A CID investigation is underway.

We continue to have very few children available for placement and the list of waiting Indian parents grows day by day. The State Government had written to the Andhra Pradesh Government to say that Special Needs children from their State Homes could be transferred to Ashraya. We are yet to hear from the Andhra Pradesh Government, though the matter was taken up by us with CARA.

Health Insurance cover has been given to all the Ashraya staff to the extent of 1 lakh per person

The Ashraya General Body meeting was held on 24th of November 2009. We have had four committee meetings in the current year under review.

Events and Outings :


1. We had an in-house Diwali Party on the 20th of October for the children and staff of Ashraya, with crackers and sweets and a cultural programme. All the staff got a Diwali bonus.

2. We had an adoption workshop on the 31st of October. The topic was ?Challenges of being Adoptive Parents and Understanding Adoption ? It was a very interactive session led by our resource people Dr. Uttara Vidyasagar and Mr. Santana Kumar both experienced counsellors. 40 adoptive parents attended the workshop.

3. The annual get-together of our adoptive parents and children was held on the 21st of November, to coincide with the Adoption Week and Children’s Day. Young magician Karan Krishna enthralled the audience with his spirited performance. Over 100 adoptive parents and children had a wonderful evening and all of us at Ashraya were really happy to interact with them.

4. On Children’s Day, the 14th of November, older children from the Children’s Home went to the Airtel office for a drawing competition. We are really proud that two of our children, Radha and Nagma got the 1st and 2nd prizes.

5. NESS Technologies, as part of the Corporate Social Programme, organized clay modelling and tea for the children at Ashraya on the 26th of November.

6. Another well-known company, NOVELL, organized a fun evening for the Ashraya children on the 28th of November, with a Bouncing Castle and Tattoo’s for all the children, which they loved.

7. On the 5th of December, Ashraya children were invited by Basava Ambara for the launch of their new shop in Basavangudi. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the cultural programme, book readings and a sumptuous tea.

8. The Ashraya annual Christmas Party was held on the 22nd of December. There was a special gift for each child, traditional Christmas eats and Christmas carols. The children, volunteers and staff had a fun evening.

9. We had a lunch for all the Ashraya office staff to celebrate the New Year, at Mainland China on the 7th of January.

10. Reena, a former Ashraya volunteer, took 15 of the Ashraya children to CUPA, the animal shelter, on the 18th January. The children really enjoyed playing with the animals.

11. Vijaya Bank invited our children to attend the Republic Day function on the 26th of January. The children were all given school bags as gifts.

12. Ashraya’s annual picnic, for staff from all our projects was on the 30th of January. We went to the ancient temples at Shivaganga, off the Tumkur Road. Later we came back to our Convention Centre ?SUDHA ? for a delicious Biryani lunch and a lot of fun and games, winding up with the ever popular ?Antakshari ?

13. We sent our older children to see Gemini Circus on the 28th of January and they were completely enthralled by the spectacle.

14. The French Osteopaths, who have now been coming to Ashraya for several years, visited us on the 29th of January and worked on a lot of the children.

15. On the 21st of March, we inaugurated our Convention Centre. We had a wonderful overnight stay with Adoptive families and children, volunteers and Ashraya members and staff. The children were so taken with all the fun and games we had organized, that they didn’t want to leave !


Comments from some of the participants :-


Tasqeen Macchiwalla - ? What a beautiful place. Loved the architecture and the hospitality ?

Anupama Rammohan - ? Beautiful place, lovely buildings. The red-tile roofs are cooling and soothing. The rooms are airy and cool. The place feels lovely and happy ?

Irith Hartman - ? A very pleasant place, an island of peace in the big city. Everything is clean and in perfect shape ?

Shonali Chinniah ??I wish the whole neighbourhood could look and feel like this. I can’t wait to visit again, when the trees have grown and the garden comes alive ?

Giten and Dhanashree Kulkarni ?? The Centre is very well built, in terms of space and amenities. It will be good for mid - size group training programmes and conferences ?

16. The widely read architectural magazine ?Architecture and Design ? featured our Convention Centre and Neelbagh School in the March 2010 edition, featuring ?Low cost ?Traditional structures ?

17. Candice Lock, Ashraya volunteer, took the older children from the Children’s Home for an outing to the Science Museum on the 19th of May. It was a very interesting outing.

18. The Ashraya In-country licence for Adoption was renewed for two years on the 10th of May, after a lot of pushing. We are currently processing the renewal of our Inter-country licence, which is now on CARA’s desk.

19. Jane, an Ashraya volunteer, took the children to the Big Bazaar ?Games Centre ? to play different games and have lunch. They had loads of fun.

20. Four of our older children went with Padma and Nomita to watch a Bharatnatyam dance performance at Ravindra Kalakshetra on the 26th of June, by dancer Yamini Muthanna. The children were most entertained by the wonderful performance.

21. Mr. & Mrs. Kapil Agarwal, took the children for an enjoyable outing to Cubbon Park on the 24th of July.

22. Israeli volunteer Zami, took the children for an exciting outing to the Planetarium and lunch at a restaurant on the 28th of July.


Staff :


Two new Social Workers joined Ashraya. Padma Chidambaram on the 1st of April, to replace Nona and Susan Jaison on the 19th of April, to relieve Usha. Both Nona and Usha left to have their babies. Our congratulations to both the mothers, who have recently had a baby girl and a baby boy, respectively. We had organized a farewell lunch for Nona and Usha on the 12th of May.

Ms. Sumati Satish, Ashraya Treasurer, hosted a special lunch for the Ashraya staff on the 10th of May, to celebrate her daughter Sharanya’s wedding.

Agnes? daughter, Anita, got married on the 6th of May. Ashraya Committee members and staff attended the wedding. Our congratulations to the newly wed couple.

Rani, who had been working in Ashraya Creches and then the Children’s Home for 20 years, left Ashraya at the end of September for personal reasons. We had a farewell lunch for Rani in September. We will miss her and her quiet competent way of working. Chandrika re-joined Ashraya and has taken up Rani’s duties.

The Children’s Home building was painted completely in April. A new stage has been built at the rear, which will be a wonderful facility when we have events at the Children’s Home. The entire area was fenced off with bamboo fencing to give us privacy.


Volunteers :-


Ashraya has always been very lucky with volunteers ?we’ve always managed to attract the most dedicated, committed and sincere people!

At the Children’s Home, some of our old hands have been with us for many years now and without them, we would’ve had a very tough time indeed. Over the last year, we also had a good number of young people who had come from as far as the UK and Spain and as close as down the street!

Many of our volunteers from abroad came to us through I-to-I and were with us for 4 or 6 weeks, working full-time with us. Some of them worked with the babies and some with the older kids helping them with their English and Mathematics. But all of our volunteers, in some very real way, touched and changed for the better, a less fortunate child’s life. One of the volunteers had come for 4 weeks but she enjoyed the work so much that she extended her stay by another week.

Every year we get a few wonderful volunteers from the OWC. And this year was no exception. One of the OWC members spent three days a week with us, helping out with the education of the older kids, feeding of the younger ones, and even play time and craft time.

Some of our youngest volunteers are school kids who have been coming on Saturdays because they attend high school on the weekdays. Some of them teach the kids dance, which the kids just love, and some just spend time with the little ones, helping the class teacher and caretakers. It is gratifying to see school and college kids, who do this not for any certificates or to complete the required hours of social service but because they choose to include service as art of their lives. At Neelbagh, the volunteers typically stay for a minimum of three months and help out the teachers with English and Mathematics. In addition to this, they help the children improve their spoken English and give the children some insight into other cultures and lifestyles. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t have many volunteers who stayed for a while at Neelbagh.

Maths workshops were conducted by a couple of volunteers to get students (and the teachers) to look beyond textbook maths and inculcate an interest in the subject. Volunteers from GE also visited Neelbagh to guide the children in their preparation for the GE science fair.

The volunteers who have helped us this year are :

Saskia, Nashilu, Hannah, Lorna from I-to-I
Rosie Grewal, Denise Brennen, Nirith ?OWC
Kavya, Disha ?school children
Addavail, Zamy, Candice, Irith
Monica, Neeta, Rakhi




1. Ms. Teri Bell from AIAA, USA, visited Ashraya from the 14th to 18th November 2009. She saw some of the Special Needs children in the Missionaries of Charity Home, to evaluate if they could be adopted.

2. Sue Condos, our long time supporter and friends from Rotary, Australia visited the Children’s Home, Women’s Centre and other projects on the 10th of February 2010. We are grateful to Sue for her continuous support and funds raised to aid Ashraya.

3. The U.S. Vice Consul from Chennai, Mr. David Peterson visited Ashraya on the 14th of May, along with Ms. Sudha Ashok.

4. Ms. Saraswathy, officer in CARA, visited Ashraya on the 19th of May.

5. Nine students and two staff from the Agnes College of Social Work, Mangalore, came to Ashraya on a field visit on the 14th of September 2010 and were given a good orientation by the Ashraya Secretary and Social Workers.

6. Students of the ?Concerns ? Community Centre, working with low income families, visited Ashraya on a study tour on the 14th of September 2010.

7. During the year, we were happy to welcome back to Ashraya adoptees Namita and Sumitra Crow and their mother Kathy. Sushanth Goynechea, who had been volunteering in an orphanage in Nepal, decided to visit Ashraya in August on his way back to USA. Anjulie Knowles, adopted from Calcutta by Barbara Knowles visited us, on the 29th of March 2010. Gita and Pradeep Menon stopped by with their children. The Cederlof family were here in December.

It is a wonderful feeling for all of us at Ashraya when adoptees and parents come back to visit.

We were also happy to welcome and entertain all the adoptive parents who came to collect their children.

Visitors Book :


Anjulie Knowles wrote :

?I am an adoptee from India. I was adopted by George and Barbara Knowles. As an adoptee you never fully realize all the work it takes by so many hard working advocates of children. Further more at the time I was adopted there was no e-mail and fancy technology that is now available. I am amazed with all the programmes Ashraya has established to bring better funds and resources to children. Also I am amazed with the difficult task of making adoption a viable option for abandoned children. This work is not easy, as my mother would say. It is fulfilling to know you have been able to find a loving family for each child. I am an advocate and living example of the adoption process and I believe that joining a child with a family is something both should be appreciative of. Adoption is a means to build a family and not a way to save a child ?

( Anjulie Knowles is now a young adult and has managed to trace her biological family in India. She was a special needs child ).

?Paola Crestani, Vice President of CIAI, visited Ashraya on the 5th of June 2010. She wrote ?Thank you for the opportunity to have seen your work and your children. I look forward to coming back again ?

Malcolm Gregory visited us on the 21st of April. We remember Malcolm with gratitude, as one of the cyclists from Dubai who cycled from Jammu to Kanyakumari many years ago, to raise funds to build the Neelbagh High School. Malcolm wrote ? To love is to be happy. I see amazing love in Ashraya ?

An unusual and amazing visitor was Matteo Tricarico from Italy. He was on his way, cycling from Vietnam, back to Italy, across continents, with just two saddle bags on his bike, to sustain him through this exciting journey ! He wrote in our visitors book ?For every child smiling there is a star shining. Here I see a constellation ?!

Maria Suarez from A.C. Sweden, visited Ashraya on 9th ?10th September. She took the Ashraya staff out for a nice Chinese lunch.




There are currently 13 women at the Women’s Centre and 25 children in the Creche.


We re-did the stone and barbed wire fencing, to give better security for the Centre at a cost of Rs. 35,000/-.


Workshops / Meetings :-


Ms. Nomita Chandy addressed the ladies of the Community Services, Bangalore on Tuesday the 17th of November 2009 on the subject of ?Social Activism ?

Ms. Nomita Chandy was invited by Children’s Rights Goa, on the 15th of December to a conference on ?Non-institutional forms of Child Care ? Nomita spoke on the placement of Special Needs children.

On the 29th of December The Karnataka State Council of Child Welfare organized a workshop and training programme on ?Quality Care in Adoption ? Nona made a good presentation on preparation of the child study report and preparation of older children for adoption.

Several meetings were held in the DWCD to work on handbooks for the Family Courts (G&WC cases) Passport office, City Civil Court (HAMA) and The Child Welfare Committees. The work is still in progress.

In January, consultation meetings were held with the CWC and Adoption Agencies, on procedures to be followed, allocation of children etc., by the CWC.

The CARA South Zone meeting was held in Bangalore, at the Catholic Club, on the 6th of March. Nomita Chandy attended the meeting which was well organized by the ACA-K. The new CARA Secretary Mrs. Anu-Jaisingh was present.

Ms. Radhika Nambiar presented a paper on ?Quality Child Care ? for a CARA-DWCD workshop for CWC functionaries, Government officials and NGO’s on the 19th of May. She made an excellent presentation.

Ms. Nomita Chandy was a panellist on NDTV ?We the People ? show on the 23rd of May 2010. The subject was ?Surrogacy ? The discussion was very lively.

The Overseas Women’s Club organized an NGO meeting at Windsor Manor on the 28th of September. Nomita and Valli represented Ashraya.

Sharmila went for a CARA workshop to Delhi, on data entry, on the 30th of September. It was a good learning experience for her


Women’s Centre and Convention Centre :-


We had a special lunch on Sunday the 4th of April at the Women’s Centre to celebrate Women’s Day. The women got together and cooked a delicious meal.

Vaishali and Manjula attended a workshop at NIMHANS from the 29th to the 31st of March, on ?Psychosocial Care for Women in Shelter Homes ?

Rini resigned from the Convention Centre at the end of March for personal reasons. Manjula, who had earlier been the Superintendent of the Women’s Home, was appointed in her place on the 20th of April 2010.

The Women’s Centre was repaired and painted in May 2010 and is looking as good as new !

One of our volunteers, Candice, helped to design a website on the Convention Centre, which was up and running by August. We have our own website now and our own domain name. The website is We are thankful also to Mr. Anil Chinniah for helping us to put all this together. Valli is taking care of the website. We have also advertised in Explocity and are sending out direct mailers to try and market the Convention Centre. We are grateful to our adoptive parent Mr. Shiv Prasad for all his help in printing the posters and designing the advertisement.


Creches :-


We had the New Year party for all the crèche children at Ashraya on the 23rd of January. The children enjoyed the magic show and special lunch of dosas. 105 staff and children were present.

Each of the crèches outdid themselves with spirited and colourful dance and song performances. Each child got a special gift before leaving.

On the 15th of August, Independence Day was celebrated at each of the crèches, with a special lunch and performances by the children and flag hoisting. Ashraya Social Workers and Committee Members went to the different crèches.

We are currently running only three crèches, as sites with families are hard to find. Labour on construction sites are now mainly male and are drawn from distant States, like Bihar and Orissa. We are looking to find a site near a large slum area in Bangalore and build a permanent, purpose - built crèche.





The total strength of the school is 318 children, of which there are 155 boys and 163 girls. There are 95 students in the hostel; 45 girls and 50 boys. There are 19 teaching staff and 13 non-teaching staff attached to the school.

We spent quite a lot of money to do repair work of the buildings, re-thatch the dining area roof, do up the pathways and install Solar lighting for the dormitories and outside lighting. We are most grateful to Mr. & Mrs. Hattangadi for a donation of Rs. 2,00,000/- to cover some of the costs for the solar lighting. Power cuts remain the order of the day.

The work was completed by October. We now have to re-do bathrooms and the washing area in the old campus.

Children’s Day was celebrated on the 14th of November. We had a valedictory function for the out-going class 10 children on the 6th of March. The Chief guest was the headmaster of Venu Central School, Mr. Govinda Gowda. Shanthi Chacko, Radhika and Jyothi Subbarao attended the programme on behalf of Ashraya.

On January 12th we had a career guidance workshop, which was very helpful for the students. 12 local resource people came and talked to the children about different vocations.

On January 5th and October 5th our school teachers Srinivas, Someashekar, Raghu and Shivamma attended the Samudhaya Dattha school programme and gave an orientation to Government school teachers to help improve their teaching skills.

On February 22nd class 8 to 10th class students visited the Science Museum and Planetarium in Bangalore, as part of an educational tour.

The 6th of May was a red-letter day for the Neelbagh school as the SSLC results were out. We were adjudged to be the best school in the Taluk with a 100% results. We were honoured by the State Government at a special function and given a certificate and a shield. Our congratulations to the children and the staff of Neelbagh School.

On the 17th of June, a Mathematics workshop was arranged at Neelbagh. Michal and Irith Hartman made a very useful presentation to the senior students and teachers. We hope that this will help to improve the mathematics skills of the children and that they will fare better in the board exams.

The Neelbagh children took part in Inter-school sports in which they did very well. They bagged the first prize in more than ten events. From September 6th to 8th the taluk level sports were held, at which the children have qualified in many disciplines to go forward to the district level.

As usual, our students have given their best in co-curricular activities. On June 28th and 29th our students bagged the first place in more than 15 events in the inter-school cultural competition held at Rayalpad.

Children from class 9 attended the G.E Science fair at Bangalore on the 6th of August. They came second out of 20 participating schools, which was a commendable performance.

The Neelbagh annual day was celebrated on the 14th of August, the birthday of Neelbagh founder Mr. David Horsburgh. Our esteemed guests were well-known actor and play-wright Mr. Girish Karnad and Dr. Saraswathy Ganapathy. The children were all brightly attired in the T-shirts in ?House Colours ? It was a wonderful and festive occasion as always with a sports meet, special lunch, prize distribution and cultural programme. Girish and Saras were most impressed with the school and the wonderful ambience. Girish gave an inspirational talk to the children and signed many autographs !

Mr. Girish Karnad wrote in the visitors book, ? An unforgettable experience. Altogether beautiful ?the energy is infectious ?

Dr. Saras Ganapathy added, ? This has been one of the most heartening and inspiring experiences ?I can’t wait to come back again soon ?

Mr. Ravichandra joined the school this year as a Kannada Teacher and Mr. Raghavendra has joined us from VAPS as the Computer Teacher.



Volunteers at Neelbagh :


Mr. Robert from the USA ; Mr. Thomas from England ; Yana from Slovakia ; Mr. & Mrs. Falkow from Germany; Mr. Amrudesh from India and Mr. Mathew from England. Volunteers helped children with their English speaking and with Maths and with extra-curricular activities .


Observation Home :-


We continue to struggle to maintain our role on the Home-Committee of the Observation Home. Children who are there for serious crimes like murder and rape, are released within days, without any proper rehabilitation plan. We managed to conduct only one training programme, in basic tailoring, during the year and handed out certificates. There are now not more than 10 children at the Home at any given time. Our teacher who had been there for many years, and was a mother figure for the boys was asked to leave as she was probably seeing too much. We are advocating at all levels, to improve this situation. Unfortunately, the J.J. Act which seeks to protect children, is actually making them more vulnerable to be ?used ? by criminal gangs.

We had a special lunch for the boys on the 13th of November to celebrate Children’s Day. Parivarthan continues to do an excellent job of counselling the boys once a week. Anand’s dance workshops held weekly, are very popular with the boys.





Ashraya is most grateful to all our donors who help to support our many programmes. CIAI, ICARE, The K.C. Mahindra Trust, Elisabet Johansson and Swedish Adoptive Parents from Ashraya and many individual sponsors and donors.

We are also indebted to our partner agencies abroad, CIAI, WACAP, AC and AIAA, who do an amazing job, finding families for special needs children in particular.

Our Social Workers and staff have taken a lot of responsibility and have performed well, in spite of trying circumstances, especially in the adoption programme.

The Ashraya Committee remain hands -on and work as a really co-hesive and good team. Mrs. Surya Vaz extends professional counselling services to the children in the Children’s Home once a week.

Our grateful thanks to Panth and Co., for maintaining and auditing our accounts Pro-bono. To Mr. Uday Holla, Senior Advocate, and Vivek Holla for taking up a PIL Pro-bono in the Karnataka High Court.

To Dr. Krishnan for keeping our children in reasonably good health during the year. To Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital for the excellent free care of our children. We are appreciative of the services of our Advocate, Mr. E.X. Antony for taking up all the adoption cases during the year.

We have many hurdles to cross in the year ahead of us. I hope that with all the initiatives that are underway, the adoption programme will run more smoothly in the future. We also hope that more children in need will be able to avail of the excellent services that we have developed.


Adoption Statistics January 2009 to December 2009.


17 children were placed in Domestic Adoption.


18 children were placed in Inter-country Adoption. Of These 16 were special needs children

95 % of healthy young children were placed in Domestic Adoption.

News About the Ashraya Family

Ashraya Committee Members

Mrs. Sumathi Subbaiah


Mrs. Nomita Chandy


Mrs. Sumati Satish


Ms. Shanthi Chacko


Mrs. Surya Vaz


Ms. Anjolie Advani


Ms. Christy Abraham


Mrs. Shobha Kumar


Mrs. Vidya Majumdar


Ashraya Staff

Radhika Nambiar,


Social Worker

Padma Chidambaram,


Social Worker

Usha Lekha


Social Worker


Children’s Home




Secretarial Assistant

Majula Devi



Office Assistant




Creche Worker


Creche Worker


Creche Worker


House Mother

















Anusuya B.









Part-time cleaning lady


Part-time gardener


Dr. N.V.S. Krishnan


Ms. Jennifer Stephen

Developmental Therapist

Ms. Valli Ram Mohan

Documentation Officer

Neelbagh School

Mr. Manjunath










Srinivas Reddy








Manjunath Rao

Craft Teacher


Tailoring Teacher cum House Mother

Mehboob Pasha

Carpentry Instructor


Computer Instructor (VAPS)


Kitchen In-charge


Kitchen Staff

Rukmini Bai

Kitchen Staff


Kitchen Staff


Support Staff


Support Staff


Support Staff


Support Staff


Support Staff


Support Staff

Raja Reddy





Pottery  Instructor


Electrical  &  Plumbing  Instructor


Dance Teacher







Venkatashiva Reddy

House Parent cum Teacher



Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper

Shantha Devi

Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper


Teacher Creche Worker Helper

Women&##39;s Centre




Creche Worker


Creche Helper


Part-time gardener

Observation Home


Dance Master

R. Anand

Counsellor from Parivarthan


Counsellor from Parivarthan

Convention Centre







Number of Children and Women Served by Ashraya

Children’s Home




Observation Home


Women’s Centre (Creche)


Women’s Centre (No. of women)