Month: January 2005

City School wins State Level Science Quiz

City School wins State Level Science Quiz

Thane’s AK Joshi English Medium School won the finals of the state level inter-school science quiz held on 16 January 2005 at the Nehru Science Centre, in Worli, Mumbai. Viviktesh Agwan and Shree Patwardhan, class IX students from A K Joshi, emerged winners from among 32 participants representing 16 schools from across the state.  G S Rautela, Director of Nehru Science Centre, gave away the prizes.

Organised by Jidnyasa Trust, a student welfare NGO from Thane, the quiz was part of yearlong celebration of 2004 as the "Year of Scientific Awareness". Schools from 19 districts reached the finals. In the finals, there was a written test, followed by a round of quiz. Only four of the 19 schools reached the last round of the finals, and A K Joshi was the fourth in scores, not a very comfortable rank to be in. At the end of second round of the finals, Viviktesh and Shree were again placed at fourth position. "The third round was the turning point, when we got all answers right and raced past our opponents," revealed Viviktesh. From then on, there was no looking back and the A K Joshi team sealed their victory in last, rapid fire round.

When asked how they prepared for the Quiz, the duo was rather nonchalant about it, attributing their success to their aptitude, hard work and support of their teachers. This is not the first time that Viviktesh and Shree have done their school and city proud. Three years ago, Shree won the gold medal at the Homi Bhabha Young Scientist Exam for class VI students, while his fellow participant, Viviktesh was the silver medallist at the same exam. The twosome confess to being science-freaks, who spend most of their free periods reading up science books. "We are fascinated by science and love to explore its various aspects," said Shree. This year too they are appearing for the Young Scientist Exam for class IX students, and have already reached the practicals stage, looking all set for bringing home some more trophies.  

Learning Sense

Learning Sense

Every year on the Republic Day, Saraswati Mandir Trust’s pre-primary section organises an educative exhibition for its students. KG students have learned about such things as the various types of hobbies and simple craft techniques in the past. This year, on the occasion of Golden Jubille year of the school, the teachers wanted to do something different. One of them, Rati Bhosekar, came up with a unique idea of holding an exhibition on a subject from the children’s curriculum. She suggested to her principal Rohini Rasal that they must put up an exhibition of human sense   organs explaining how they create the five primary senses. Rasal, who liked this idea, immediately approved it and also outlined the method of executing.

The three-day Sense-Organs Exhibition was organised at the school premises from 25 to 27 January 2005. Besides all KG teachers contributing, many enthusiastic parents also chipped in their bit. In all, five classes were allocated for the five organs, one each for eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Each class displayed a large, specially created thermocol model of an organ, accompanied by various charts and diagrams.

Mayor Sharda Raut, who happens to be an ex-student of the school, visited the exhibition on January 26. Raut was visibly impressed by the concept of the exhibition and showered the teachers with compliments on their efforts. The exhibition also pulled in teachers from other schools like New English and Bedekar Vidyamandir. And not without reason, for the pedagogy employed in explaining to children the role of the organs was rather interesting.

Groups of 20 children moved from one class to another and came out better informed about their sense organs. As the children entered the "tongue" class, they were first given plain water to drink. Then, they were given salted water and so on. The idea here was to explain how the tongue helped us differentiate between the assorted tastes. One parent had created a chart with various facial expressions that result from tasting different substances like sour, sweet, salty, spicy and pungent. When the children entered the "skin" class, they were greeted by a breeze of fresh air circulated by a table fan, indicating feel aspect of skin. There were various substances kept to explain the different touch-and-feel sensations that they generate. So children found that hay is rough to touch, while cotton is soft. Children also walked on sand and learnt than even feet can feel sensations. In the "nose" section, the children’s noses was subjected to various substances, some were odourless (water) and others emitted strong odours (medicines, chemicals). Children learnt how the nose helps them decide which odours were pleasant and which were repulsive. The "Ear" section featured sounds of different musical instruments. A cassette with sounds of rain, thunder, and ticking clock was also played. The "Eyes" section highlighted both pleasing (sun, moon and stars) and offensive (garbage) pictures. There was a flower rangoli to exhibit the various colours.

It is common knowledge that children learn better through watching a clear demonstration; they tend to get bored easily with long one-way monologues. The exhibition employed an experiential method of teaching, such that children were completely involved in the learning process. Throughout the exhibition tour, children were shouting and laughing – enjoying the various little experiments they were subjected to. And at the end of the tour, the little children had, perhaps for the first time, consciously experienced the functioning of their own sense organs. Quite a sensible method of teaching, that.

Restoring sanity

Restoring sanity

Paulo Coelho (of The Alchemist fame), who spent a brief time of his life in a mental institution, has narrated a beautiful story set right there – in a mental hospital. The book, titled Veronica Decides to Die, is about a girl who finds a "sane" world in the mental hospital, and also learns much about the "insanity" of the so-called sane society out there. The book, triggered from the author’s own experiences in the mental institution, forces the reader to dwell on "madness" as an illness and to question the sources of mental infirmities. The book reminds one of what Mark Twain observed, "The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people but if we tried to shut up the insane we would run out of building materials".

Coelho’s book is perhaps a rare departure from the usual because the society seldom gives the mentally ill the attention it deserves. Yet there are some who still care for these people. Like volunteers from Sevadham, a city-based NGO, who visit the Thane Mental Hospital every month, to spend time with the inmates and also conduct some soft-therapies on them.

Since July 2004, Sevadham volunteers began visiting the inmates once a month, with the objective of engaging them in activities to help them interact with them and open up. Sevadham uses game therapy, group therapy and music therapy, simple but effective techniques that help reduce stress and improve coordination and concentration of the patients. The result of such sessions is that participants have become calmer than before. Sevadham is now trying "music therapy" with these patients. Music is known to have soothing effect on the nerves and mental patients have apparently responded well to the musical notes. Music charges them up. Most patient love to express themselves and music provides them a channel for self-expression. Inmates enjoy bhajans, folk songs and even film songs. In fact, three weeks ago, the volunteers celebrated Christmas and New Year with the 200-odd inmates of the Thane Mental Hospital. Besides distributing napkins, fruits and biscuits, these volunteers made them sing and dance – and inmates thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Sevadham’s initiatives are augmenting the in-house supportive therapy of the hospital, where occupational therapists keep the inmates engaged in various activities likes games, gardening,   so that their minds do not wander into self-defeating thoughts and trigger undesirable actions.

The NGO is now exploring the possibility of starting a day-care centre at Thane for women patients who are on parole, i.e. those patients who are deemed as cured and allowed to leave the hospital. "These are borderline cases, who need a little hand-holding. Our proposed day-care centre will attempt to provide them with avenues to keep them gainfully occupied so that they retain their sense of confidence and self-esteem," said a Sevadham spokesperson. Occupational therapists at the hospital have appreciated this initiative of Sevadham as they think that this kind of an initiative will help prevent cases of relapse and re-admission, which often happens once the patient is discharged.

When volunteers from Sevadham started visiting the mental hospital, the idea was to reach out to another marginalised section of the society. The frequency of visits has increased since they first began and now volunteers meet the inmates in their wards, where earlier the patients were brought to a common room. What is encouraging is that many socially conscious citizens approach the NGO to offer their voluntary services in these noble initiatives. Sometimes one gets a feeling that it is such selfless and sane people who make it worthwhile living in this otherwise insane world.

Making a difference

Making a difference

There is a parable about a little boy walking on the beach after a storm. All around him were thousands of starfish that had been washed up on the beach, beyond the reach of the tide, all gasping for water, without which they would die. The little boy picked the helpless fish up one by one, took them to the water, and threw them in. Watching the boy, an old man laughed at his efforts and said, "Can’t you see how hopeless your task is? There are thousands of fish on the shoreline and your efforts are not making any difference at all." The boy picked up another starfish, walked to the water, threw it in and said, "It made a difference to that one." Last week, three friends from Thane decided to make a difference in a similar way, when they decided to visit the Tsunami-affected villages in Tamil Nadu.

On December 30, 2004, when Vijay Shetty from Kolbad, Bharat Parmar from Tembhi Naka and Mahesh Madkholkar from Kopri Colony watched Barkha Dutt’s account of Tsunami and the extent of devastation on TV, it stirred them into noble action. On New Year’s Eve, the three practising chartered accountants left for Nagapatnam and adjoining villages, which are among the worst hit by the tragedy.

The experience of carrying out relief-work first hand has affected them deeply. "When we saw the ruins, we were totally shocked, and were literally trembling," said a visibly moved Shetty. Of the five villages they visited, Tharangambadi, located 40 km from Nagapatnam, was the worst hit. Here, out of a population of about 3500, only 1000 or so have survived the calamity. Almost all the houses are washed out and the village has become totally deserted. Wherever they went, they saw the horrible outcome of the catastrophe: hundreds of dead bodies, many lying deep inside the debris, large-scale wreckage, frightened people who were not ready to go back to their villages, and little children, clueless about the tragedy annihilation around them. With only 12 men and three earth moving machines allotted to this village, the relief operations too were just a namesake.

After cremating two bodies, one of which was of a five-year old child found in an abandoned house, the three volunteers decided to do something for those children rendered orphan by Tsunami. Shetty recounts, "We saw little children who have lost both their parents, but are so innocent that they haven’t even understood what calamity has struck them." This heart-rending experience prompted the trio to shortlist eight children who have lost both their parents. Each of three have decided to take up the responsibility of two orphaned children: They will pay for their education, clothes, food and all other necessary expenses up till such time that they become financially independent.

When large calamities strike, most of us tend to become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problem. At such times, we must recall the parable of the little boy and the starfish and remind ourselves that our efforts do make a difference, even if they seem trivial compared to the magnitude of the problem. Imagine the difference the good samaritans from Thane are making to the lives of the six children they have decided to support.

Squash it out!

Squash it out!

Squash is a relatively new sport and therefore not many people are familiar with it. Add to this the lack of sufficient facilities, and you know why the sport has remained largely inconspicuous. But if the response to the Squash Coaching Camp held in Thane recently is any indication, then things are set to change. More than 40 children, aged four to 19 participated in the 10-day free coaching camp which was announced barely a day before the camp began. From December 24 last year to January 02, 2005, the children of Hiranandani Estate, where the camp was held, religiously spared their afternoons to learn the new sport.

The idea behind the camp was to create awareness and introduce children to this wonderful racket sport, which also promotes physical fitness. Organised by the newly formed Squash Racquets Association of Thane (SRAT), and conducted by Indian Squash Professionals (ISP), the response of children and their parents was quite encouraging. In Squash, stamina is as important as technique. Therefore the coaches from ISP were focussing on building both fitness and skills of participants, who seemed to be enjoying the rigours, in spite of the hard work involved. Natasha Rajdev, a third-year engineering student of Thadumal Shahani College said, "I never knew Squash is such a tiring game. The first few days drained me out. But soon I found myself more energetic and active. I plan to continue playing even after the camp concludes." Vibhu Singh and Shreyas Gune, both class IX students from Hiranandani Foundation School, said, "Squash not only builds stamina but also de-stresses. We love this camp." Almost all the participants echoed similar sentiments. Parents too were as enthusiastic as their children. Alka and Manish Mahajan, parents of four-year old Abhay, who participated in the camp and was thoroughly enjoying it, confessed that even they were motivated by their son’s response.

This was the first event organised by the SRAT, which came into existence only last month. Anupam Ghosal, President of SRAT, said, "SRAT’s objective is to create awareness about Squash in and around Thane and also offer practical guidance to novices and professionals alike. For this, we are approaching large companies with offers of institutional membership." SRAT also plans to organise such camps in other places. It has also initiated talks with TMC to refurbish the squash courts at the Dodoji Kondeo Stadium, a move that is sure to augment the popularity of the sport.

Already, with top seeds in all age groups, children from Thane are making a mark at the state and national levels of the game. A few of these top seeds also participated in the camp, boosting the morale of other participants. "The children have displayed determination to succeed and have immense potential to go places" said Sunil Verma, who is the official coach of Jindal Steel Squash Academy (JSSA) and also coaches top seeds from Thane and Mumbai.

The coaching camp concluded with exhibition matches, played by such national top seeds like Naveen Jhangra and Laxman Joshi from JSSA. To motivate children, there were prizes for those who demonstrated talent and enthusiasm. But the real winner of the event was Squash, which now has more enthusiasts in Thane than last year.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Elementary, my dear Watson

JOHN WANAMAKER, pioneer of department stores in the US, once confessed that he knew that only half his advertising works; the problem was, he didn’t know which half. But today’s marketers cannot afford to makes such a confession. With marketing accountability becoming the motto of the top management, companies are increasingly looking for return on every marketing rupee spent. Developing effective marketing programmes is now the most important objective of marketing practitioners. But what exactly does the term marketing effectiveness imply?

Marketing is what marketing does

In Economics, we are taught that money has no inherent value. It is simply some printed paper or some numbers in the account books, unlike air, water and other basic necessities, which are indispensable to life. The value of money lies in the function of serving as a medium of exchange. Money, then, is what money does.

Twist this statement a bit – replace money with marketing and you get another universal truth: Marketing is what marketing does. Marketing tactics (including advertising, sales promotions, product development and brand management) are useless, unless they serve the purpose for which they were designed. That purpose, the endpoint of all marketing, is sales. No matter how brilliant your marketing strategy, if it does not ultimately result in sales, then it has failed.

EFFIEs and effectiveness

The New York American Marketing Association introduced the EFFIE Awards in 1968. Every year, EFFIE awards are given away to the most effective advertising campaign of the year in the respective country. Winning an EFFIE is about meeting a challenge and succeeding. In the words of a recent winner, “Effective advertising is advertising that sells; advertising that builds market share. The EFFIE award is the symbol of effective advertising and a tribute to the client and agency partnership that strives to create it.”

Of course, there are no absolutes in the world of marketing, no formula for marketing effectiveness. Every marketing challenge is unique and requires a distinctive approach. Having said that, there are certain best practices in marketing that have stood the test of time. These practices have a few factors in common, all of which are inter-connected and must be considered carefully before embarking upon any marketing programme. Surprisingly, these factors lead us back to the basics. So let’s re-visit these basic principles.

Essential Ingredients of a Successful Marketing Campaign

CONSUMER INSIGHT tops the charts. Every sensible marketer knows the importance of relevant consumer insight. The consumer is the king around whom the world of marketing revolves. And that makes consumer insight the single most important factor that shapes a successful marketing campaign.

According to Sunil Lulla, “Consumer insight is crucial if you want to be effective in your marketing efforts. Post that it’s the ideas and the execution that make all the difference. For instance, Sony Entertainment Television’s marketing campaign for ‘Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin’ was truly differentiated and innovative and was driven by a very strong consumer insight – that people tend to judge others by the way they look. Hence we launched a campaign, which never revealed the protagonist but only built her attributes and character.”

Lynn DeSouza adds: “I believe it’s hitting on the right consumer insight, which is an outcome of good planning and knowledge of consumer behaviour. Touching the right chord in the consumer’s mind and/or heart can actually lead to faster results requiring lower investments and ad budgets. The anti-FD campaign of Franklin Templeton is a great example of a hardworking consumer insight translated into interesting creative execution that required much lower ad spends than competitors to win great results for the company.”

But consumer insight alone is a necessary, and not a sufficient, condition. Rohit Srivastava says, “Consumer insights are interesting because they can often define the opportunity or create a strong leverage for marketing the brand; not as an end in themselves. However, a competitive leverage for an effective marketing program could come from other sources as well, such as a price or distribution advantage, a product edge or a service differentiator.”

THOROUGH PLANNING plays an instrumental role in the success of every marketing effort. Planning enables marketers to get a complete picture of where they stand, where they want to go, and the paths available to them to reach there. Planning helps obtain relevant data relating to consumer preferences, market and competitor activities, economic trends and prospects and other such information that is necessary to make informed decisions with respect to available options.

Srivastava says, “Planning to me is a very broad word and to that extent it will always be the key force behind marketing effectiveness. That’s because the world is too tough, too competitive for great results to be achieved as a matter of chance or luck. On the latter I always remember what one of the golfers is credited with saying: “the harder I practice, the luckier I get!”

Yet, if the basic assumptions about the market (and the consumer) are erroneous, the plan will fail. Consumer preferences are ever-changing and therefore, it is important to capture the pulse of the market in order to minimise the risk of failure. Here, focus helps.

FOCUS is a corollary of planning. It implies having clearly defined marketing goals and the strategies to reach those goals. Without focussed strategies, marketing efforts tend to become fragmented and the outcome is diluted. So does one bring focus into one’s marketing effort? Pranesh Misra answers, “Campaigns that follow the ‘Be clear – then clever’ principle tend to be more effective. Campaigns have to be clear about some critical issues: who is the key competitor, who is the core consumer, what is the key communication challenge, what is the insight driving the brief, and why the consumer should believe it. Being clear means having only one answer for each of these questions and not multiple ones. More that one answer means that the brief is not focussed.” Focussed inquiry will lead to identification of tasks at hand.

IDENTIFICATION entails discovering, and defining clearly, your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, weigh it against market opportunity and the competitive and economic threats, and finally develop possible strategies to exploit the opportunity and avoid the threats. Srivastava explains this comprehensively, “Within the broad ambit of planning, I look for one or more of the following, which are good drivers of marketing effectiveness:

1. Sharp diagnosis of what’s ailing the brand or the category. This is where most organisations falter. They are either blind to the core issue or too scared to face it. If the diagnosis is clear, it does not take rocket science to figure out what needs to be done to drive the desired results.

2. Sound understanding of the opportunity. Again as someone said, just because there is a gap in the market, does not mean there is a market in the gap! If the opportunity is genuine, large enough and well-defined, it significantly raises the odds that the brand will be effective in the marketplace.

3. A grasp of what it will take to exploit this opportunity. Marketing is a game of leverage; does your strategy give you enough leverage? A big leverage means you can move the market with disproportionately lower investments, at least relatively speaking.”

SUSTENANCE AND PERSEVERANCE are essential for a marketing programme to achieve lasting results. It is said that perseverance and failure cannot coexist. Failure happens when you quit. Planning, insights and focus will lead you nowhere, if the marketing activity is not sustained over a period of time. Srivastava says, “All of these can come to naught if they remain on paper or a PowerPoint slide. Marketing effectiveness calls for a sustained activation of the game plan.”

TIMING often deceives even savvy marketers. A strategy or a tactic that has worked yesterday, may not work today. At one time, the Onida Devil worked wonders for the brand. But after a few years of uninterrupted presence, the magic of the devil began to fade – the devil had outlived his utility. So campaigns are time-sensitive. The problem is that it is often difficult to discard a once-successful campaign because it has either lost its relevance or it has lost its charisma. Again, to recognise that a campaign will not work anymore is easier said than done. Marketers must develop a keen perception of the market mood, trends and patterns. That allows them to be open to change and flexibility. (Incidentally, Onida has recently brought back the devil in a new avatar. What it does to Onida’s fortunes remains to be seen.)

FLEXIBILTY really comes from acknowledging that marketing is a social activity that depends on many societal factors. Change is in the nature of all human beings. Everything changes over time – consumer’s preferences, buying behaviour and spending habits. Good marketers have a built-in contingency plan in the marketing programme to deal with any unpredictable or unseen changes in the marketplace.

PASSION of those working on the campaign may not be recognised as a necessary element of marketing programme; nevertheless, the lack of it can lead to a lacklustre campaign. Passion is required to come up with creative and original ideas that work. Passion is required to intuitively understand the ever-changing marketplace. If insight, analysis, planning and focus are the blood, passion is the oxygen of marketing. Srivastava says, “Marketing programmes need to be driven with the passion and zeal of a crusader. They must be created by, and in turn create, believers of the brand. This calls for honesty, commitment, passion and a relentless pursuit of the cause – the consumer’s cause.”

When we falter…

So what happens when we lose track of these basic principles? Let’s consider an example of a failed marketing campaign. The Maruti Versa launch campaign unleashed last year, failed, in spite of Amitabh Bachchan endorsing the brand. The big B factor worked to the extent that it brought prospective consumers to the showroom. But the product disappointed them. Mind you, there was nothing wrong with the product or with AB’s endorsement of the brand; it was the positioning that went wrong. Because of AB’s presence, the consumers expected a larger-than-life kind of a product. But what they saw was a small wagon-type family car – there was a mismatch between product expectation and delivery. “The inability to grasp the real communication challenge is at the core of all failures,” says Misra. In this case, the communication challenge was finally met, when Maruti launched another campaign, this time showcasing it as the family.

What happens when we fail to obtain consumer insight? Lulla believes that when the campaign is not based on insight, it will not resonate with the consumer. “You may have a great looking campaign that may grab attention but might not achieve much after. It is not just about getting noticed; it is about being effective and creating the desired impact.” Srivastava adds, “Most brands in most categories settle into a state of mediocrity with no real differentiators and no genuine effort to create them. There is helplessness and far too ready an acceptance of the status quo, resulting in an over reliance on ‘an advertising idea’ to pull the brand through. Even this, where the brands have one, is confined in its expression to a typical mass media campaign. There is little follow through, poor support and negligible activation programmes that drive the idea and take it forward. In some cases, the idea itself is sacrificed with a premature change of the campaign; driven by a change of the marketing team or the agency.”

A few years ago, after the tremendous success of CeaseFire fire portable extinguishers, the company (Real Value) launched another innovative product – vacuumised containers. The product bombed, in spite of bigger ad spends and massive advertising on TV. There was no real demand of the product in the Indian market. Lack of planning causes marketing’s effectiveness to diminish. This happens because without proper planning, there is no way to determine deviations from the path and consequently no way to take corrective action if/when it is required. “One of the key reasons of ineffectiveness of marketing is inadequate homework – about the consumer, the way she or he is changing, and about one’s competitors and their strategies,” says DeSouza. Indeed, for look at what inadequate homework did to one oil company in Australia, which spent three million dollars on a TV advertising campaign only to find that 60 per cent of the target audience thought the ad was from the competitor. So in effect the company spent three million on advertising for their competitor. Proper planning might have prevented this unfortunate loss.

Wrapping up

A marketing campaign, however glamorous or expensive, does not yield the desired results, then it not marketing at all. We have all seen some heavily criticised marketing efforts yielding good results for the brand (Dandi Salt). We also know about high-profile and much-written-about marketing campaigns that have failed to push up brand sales (HomeTrade.com). In the end, the measure of marketing effectiveness lies in brand sales. Nothing else counts.

And effective marketing, as we have discussed above, is a process of planning and executing strategies with clearly defined goals, in a sustained and flexible manner, using relevant consumer insight. Provided that we stick to these basic principles, and do not lose sight of the ultimate objective of increasing sales, we will succeed in our goal of attracting, retaining or converting consumers. As Sherlock Holmes would say to his friend and confidante: “Elementary”.

The author expresses his thanks to the following experts for their views:

  • Pranesh Misra, President and Chief Operating Officer, Lowe India
  • Lynn DeSouza, Director of Media Services, Lintas India Group
  • Sunil Lulla, Executive Vice President, Sony Entertainment Television
  • Rohit Srivastava, National Planning Director, Contract Advertising
Impact of Kindness

Impact of Kindness

Dr Wayne Dyer, author of several bestsellers, highlights the impact of kindness in his latest book, The Power of Intention thus: "Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed towards another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of kindness and the person extending kindness. Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feeling of everyone involved."

On the eve of Christmas, the members of Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills (IWCTH) performed many such acts of kindness by visiting three orphanages/ashrams in and around Thane city. First they went to Premdaan at Airoli, a shelter for destitute women and children. The inmates got a chance to participate in an entertainment programme organised by IWCTH members. One of the members of IWCTH, Sucheta Rege, dressed up as Santa Claus, and distributed an assortment of useful stuff including sweets, snacks, cake pieces, cookies, soaps and gifts to the 225 inmates of Premdaan. Identifying their needs, the members contributed personally to donate 30 new mosquito nets and 170 new garments to the inmates.

After Premdaan, the IWCTH members went to Aasra at Kalwa. Again, they spent time with the 22 boys who live there, donated breakfast provisions for a month including Complan, butter, cheese, biscuits, and wafers for a month. Since it was time for children to study, the members left them soon, but not without a promise to come back soon – this time with a pair of slippers, for which the 22 boys requested.

Next, 18 girls from Divyaprabha at Vartak Nagar Thane got new frocks, new bed sheets and pillow covers. These girls also got an opportunity to participate and win prizes in handwriting and drawing competitions. Later, there was a poetry recitation and a story-telling session. The thrilled girls, aged between five and 12, expressed their desire to go for a buggy ride. So IWCTH members have decided to fulfil their wish on new year’s eve. They will not only take the girls for a buggy ride but and will also invite them for the new year celebration party where the girls will eat, dance, win more prizes and have lots of fun.

The time spent with the homeless and the destitute means a lot to them. It gives them hope and makes them feel loved and cared for. And what better gift on Christmas than love! IWCTH president Sarmistha Chowdhury says happily, "The joy on the faces of children and women made our effort worthwhile." From Dr Dyer’s testimony of positive impact of kindness, it is easy to assess the happiness of both the recipients of kindness at the three shelter homes and the members of IWCTH who extended that kindness.