All posts by Colin Charlton

I am technical director of Heal UK. I am a retired Senior Lecturer of the Computer science Department, The University of Liverpool. I am a retired C.E.O of Connect Internet Solutions Ltd. I am a retired General Manager of Liverpool Ladies FC.

Jyothi could be on track for sporting stardom!

by Jem King, HEAL Head of Communications

One young student has become something of a celebrity at Paradise Village lately… ninth-grader Jyothi is the talk of the school after being selected for state-level sports academy training in the popular Indian sport of kho-kho.

Jyothi missed most of the recent HEAL Silver Jubilee celebrations at Paradise Village after spending a few days rubbing shoulders with the cream of the Andhra Pradesh sporting crop.

It was quite an eye-opening experience for the teenage athlete, with standards at the training camp obviously higher than anything she had encountered before.

Jyothi returned with a new  sports bag, a trophy, certificate and some prize money after her team claimed runners-up spot at the academy try-out.

And HEAL founder-chairman Dr Satya Prasad Koneru was quick to lavish praise on the promising teenager as he called her up onto the stage to be honoured in front of her admiring classmates by HEAL Day chief guest Mr Moncho Ferrer.

Her picture is also posted up around the school and she has even featured in one or two newspaper reports in the Telugu Press.

Such achievement as Jyothi’s gives immense satisfaction to all HEAL staff and volunteers as it serves to demonstrate how children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds can go on to make their mark in life if given the right start.

Jyothi arrived at HEAL in distressing circumstances, as she said in a recent newspaper report: “I did not know my father at all. When my mother died in a traffic accident, I was all alone with no place to call home. Fortunately, some relatives joined me at HEAL. This is not something I could have ever dreamed of. It is now my home, family and future.

“I am so lucky and happy. I have not missed my parents since I came here, though I remember my mother. All this fortune is only possible because of Doctor Sir.”

But Jyothi is not letting her successes go to her head and remains determined to press on with her studies – even at the expense of sporting success.

And whatever path she decides to take, she knows that her HEAL family will be behind her all the way!

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Angel and Dhanya deliver school report for 2017-18 at Paradise School

Tenth Class students Dhanyasri and Angel Vennela presented their school report to guests during the HEAL Day celebrations. It read:

Today we are celebrating our Silver Jubilee and it is a red-letter day in the HEAL journey. Having started in 1992 by Dr Satya Prasad with two abandoned children, HEAL in the last 25 years has benefited thousands of children. More than 100 have become engineers, doctors, MBA, graduates and some have become entrepreneurs. HEAL aims to support 10,000 children in this decade.

  1. HEAL believes in learning by doing. This year every classroom has been converted into a lab. We now have labs for every subject. The classroom has become an interesting area. This is in addition to the existing well-equipped maths, physics and chemistry labs. We are now looking forward to upgrading our biology lab.
  2. HEAL School strives to keep in pace with changing technology and aims at an engaging and involving environment. We now have three ‘smart’ rooms and all three of those are over-booked by our teachers. All our teachers prefer to mix teaching with visuals. Result? Our attention span and retaining capacity has increased. We are now looking forward to make every room a smart room as and when we receive donations.
  3. Stories transport us into a different world. We love to read stories, no matter whatever the age. Our library has become interesting and attracts more and more children. Our library is open on Sundays also.
  4. Nurturing innate abilities: Our entire campus has become a learning space for us. Six-day schooling has been made into five days to use Saturdays to pursue our hobbies. There is dance, music, drawing, games, elocution, debates and robotics for us to choose from. Our own school radio programme has become a very interesting forum.
  5. We love games. Every single day we play games – more so on weekends! This year 14 of us have reached state level in running, kabaddi, kho-kho and javelin. We are proud and happy to share that Ms. M.Jyothi, of 9th Grade, has been selected by the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh for advanced coaching in kho-kho.
  6. HEAL welcomes more and more volunteers. We are glad to share with you that 25% of both curriculum and co-curriculum is being taken care of by volunteers, from within India and overseas. In fact, our Paradise campus is steered by a volunteer – our CEO. Moving forward, we look for more of our esteemed supporters to volunteer.
  7. HEAL stands for Health and Education for All. Health comes through balanced diet. We are meeting a greater part of our nutrition requirements from organic farming in our kitchen garden and we are striving to increase the same. We are producing compost from our wet waste, managed entirely by our children. We have installed our new solar kitchen for steam cooking which will help us retained nutrition and hygiene.
  8. We believe in a healthy environment. We take pleasure and pride in keeping our dormitories, classrooms and campus clean.
  9. Alumni: We are very happy that some of our seniors have joined us today. They are our torch-bearers and role models.

We profusely thank our teaching and non-teaching staff. They are not only our teachers, but they are our parents too.

We, the HEAL children, humbly express our deep gratitude to our generous donors, covenants, sponsors, volunteers and well-wishers.

Thank you.

Jai Hind

Paradise SPLs are perfect HEAL role models

by Jem King, HEAL Head of Communications

In recent years Paradise Village has appointed a few select senior children to act as School People Leaders (SPLs), or Head Boy and Head Girl, to take on the responsibility of representing the student body on campus.

Bhargav Kumar Motru was the first boy appointed SPL three years ago, followed a year later by Anitha Jampani, but for the past academic year (2017-18), with student numbers rising to 450, two students were chosen to share the task.

Bhargav was once again the popular choice for the Head Boy role, while Year 10 classmate Vijaya Lakshmi Neduri was appointed Head Girl.

In addition to their normal school activities, these two – often standing out on official duties in their bright orange colours – are given daily responsibility to keep a watchful eye over younger students, lead by example in matters of behaviour and discipline, and welcome guests and visitors at the dias.

“We are expected to keep all the children well-disciplined and well-mannered, keep them in line when going to and from school, that sort of thing,” says Bhargav, who will celebrate his 17th birthday in May 2018.

“It is also up to us to make sure the surroundings are kept nice here at Paradise Village. Everyone is expected to clean up, including me, and I hope the younger ones will follow my example.

“I really enjoy my job and it is something which will increase my leadership qualities.”

Vijaya Lakshmi agrees. “When we were called for this task it was an opportunity for us to practice qualities which will be useful in later life,” she says. “We also receive a certificate, which will be of benefit when we go looking for a job one day.”

She will be 16 in August and could join her Year 10 classmates in attending Junior College in nearby Vijayawada if a planned HEAL College for Intermediate students is not ready to launch this summer.

“With a HEAL Junior College in place, students could stay at Paradise for two more years after completing secondary school and then aim to attend college with the continued support of HEAL,” adds Vijaya Lakshmi, who has ambitions of becoming an aeronautical engineer.

Anitha, meanwhile, will be 17 in October and is already setting her sights on becoming a software engineer and helping to design and manufacture the apps and digital software of the India to come.

Bhargav is keeping his options open about a future career, but his list of goals and ambitions pay tribute to the wide variety of opportunities these future leaders have been given at Paradise Village.

“I have many plans… I want to become an animator and maybe take part-time dance classes, computer classes and I want to do service, giving freely of my time, maybe as a teacher,” he says.

“I am interested in visual arts and fine arts and have been given some valuable advice from volunteers who have come here to Paradise Village. Some of them are successful artists who have given me ideas of what to do to achieve my goals.”

There is even talk of Bhargav playing a part in a short animated film a specialist teacher is planning to make with a group of keen students! 

Spending time in the company of these three bright and confident teenagers, it is difficult to imagine the sort of difficulties they underwent in the early stages of their young lives which led them to HEAL’s door.

All three SPLs are happy and settled within the HEAL family and ready to look to a brighter future rather than dwell on the past.

“When I came here aged 13 I was able to put the bad things that happened as a young boy behind me,” says Bhargav. “My brother Raviteja (Class 9) and I learned lessons about how not to go down the wrong path in life, but here is where my family is now!”

Firm friends Anitha and Vijaya Lakshmi have developed their communication skills by following the school Principal’s lead in taking morning assemblies and giving welcome addresses and votes of thanks with microphone in hand.

“We have been given a great opportunity for education and learning new skills,” they agree, “and above all a good family focus here at Paradise Village.”

A Day in the Life: Bhavana puts Paradise Village in the picture

We gave Bhavana, of Class 6, a camera-phone and asked her to record ‘A Day in the Life of a Girl Student’ for National Girl Child Day. Here are some of her best pictures…

Early morning, and children carry out their chores at Paradise school
Early morning, and children carry out their chores at Paradise school
A study of three Paradise teachers
A study of three Paradise teachers
Inside the classroom
Inside the classroom
Bhavana captures artist Anita Rao working on her wall painting of the world map
Bhavana captures artist Anita Rao working on her wall painting of the world map
A quiet moment
A quiet moment
Students walk to school past a giant rabbit waste bin
Students walk to school past a giant rabbit waste bin
Getting the stage ready for National Girl Child Day celebrations
Getting the stage ready for National Girl Child Day celebrations
Class 8 student Daya Vardhan helps with make-up in the dressing room
Class 8 student Daya Vardhan helps with make-up in the dressing room
A lovely picture of dancer Mounika
A lovely picture of dancer Mounika
Havana's friends look relaxed as they wait to go out on stage
Bhavana’s friends look relaxed as they wait to go out on stage
Bhavana's camera captures a tender moment as HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad Konery holds a baby in the audience
Bhavana’s camera captures a tender moment as HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad Koneru holds a baby in the audience
A relaxed atmosphere in the dressing room
A relaxed atmosphere in the dressing room
A smiling Teja poses for Bhavana
A smiling Teja poses for Bhavana
Head teacher Jyothi introduces guests on to the stage
Head teacher Jyothi introduces guests on to the stage
A dance in honour of National Girl Child Day
A dance in honour of National Girl Child Day
Students enjoy some cake after their performance
Students enjoy some cake after their performance
A 'selfie' to finish off... well done, Bhavana!
A ‘selfie’ to finish off… well done, Bhavana!