An Ark Newsletter
a. Kataila Development Circle
b. Gifts from Mathilde Rouyer, Paris, France
2. Volunteers' Column
a. Worshiping God Through Community Service
By Shaheen Ansari, New Delhi.
b. Hotdog Man
By Alex Moore, Student, Penola High School, Australia.
3. Two Ways
Why Your Yahoogroup Called arkitect95 ?
Mohammad Irshad, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
a. One Year in Dhapo Colony Slum.
b. Annual Awards
a. KATAILA SCHOOL PROGRAMME
New session has been started from July. With this session we
have introduce 9th and 10th standard properly. Earlier we were also
holding classes for students of classes 9th and 10th standard but it
was on an ad hoc basis. Now we have 17 and 11 students in class 9th
and 10th standard respectively. Most of these students are girl as
boys manage to go to other schools in Ghazipur main city which is 7
km away from the village. if we can provide good education, we can
improve our number of students. We have to go for door to door
campaign about providing education specially to girls as parents are,
now, ready to or sending their male child to schools- some send them
to our school in the village and some to different schools in
different villages or in the main city. Obviously standard of schools
in the city is in much better condition. They have good
infrastructure and well trained teachers where as we have huts and
educated unemployed youths of our village or nearby villages. They
are not only untrained but few of them are less motivated and will
leave the village school as soon as they get better opportunity.
b. GIFTS FROM MATHILDE ROUYER, PARIS, FRANCE
Alex Popovich, Penola High School, Australia, was the first
person to take an initiative of his own to collect educational
materials from people from his school and his locality/colony and
send them to Dhapo Colony Slum. He also educated/campaigned among
people of a local Ambulance Service, where he works as a volunteer
for more than a decade and did the same at a local hospital where
Olga Popovich, his wife, works. And the response was tremendous.
Students from his school wrote letters to slum children and essay
about the place where their distant friends live. And their parents
and teachers donated pens, pencils and notebooks.
Thank you very much Alex for initiating it.
Mathilde Rouyer (now in Paris, France) followed him by donating
books, pens, pencils and copies to each students of Ark Education
Centre at Dhapo Colony. She also donated some cloths. She had a great
desire to teach at our centre but by the time she learnt Hindi, the
medium of instruction at the centre, her visa was expired and she had
to leave for her country, France. Right from the beginning she has
been with us in the slum. Ark Foundation would like to thank her for
her help- both on and off the ground- in running Ark Education Centre
at Dhapo Colony Slum in New Delhi.
Vinya Masih was another person who took an initiative and
collected three bags of cloths which we distributed in the slum. He
is working with Children At Risk and Evangelic Fellowship of India,
a. WORSHIPING GOD THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE
By Shaheen Ansari
One Friday afternoon, on his way to offer the weekly namaz at a
mosque, a friend found an accident victim lying unattended on the
road. As he hesitated over what to do a few more passers-by joined
Reasoning to himself that the injured person will now be taken
care of, he hurriedly continued to walk towards the mosque. But that
day, no matter how hard he prayed, peace eluded him.
Something was missing. He agonised over whether he could remain
indifferent to a fellow human being's suffering while making fervent
attempts to serve God through prayer?
Prayer gives utterance to what lies deep in our hearts. It is
the longing of the heart to break free from the narrow confines of
the individual self to find the Universal. The journey is from
isolation to communion.
It leads to an encounter with the Divine in every bit of
creation. The practice of religion guides us to this supreme vision.
But often, we mistake the guideposts for the destination. It is then
that prayers become mere empty words, rituals become mere routines
and the soul becomes a slave of habit.
Renunciation of worldliness does not mean renouncing the world
Nizamuddin Auliya, the renowned Sufi saint of Delhi, often used to
say that the observance of rituals and the performance of spiritual
practices are like the spices in a cauldron; the real thing is
the 'meat'. If there is no 'meat' in the cauldron then there can be
no stew and the spices are of no use. Renunciation of worldliness can
be likened to the 'meat' in the cauldron. But the renunciation of
worldliness does not mean renouncing the world.
It means to live in the world, dedicating your life to the
service of God by giving what you have to those who need it more.
When Shaykh Muinuddin Chishti of Ajmer was asked to explain the
highest form of religious devotion which endeared man to God, he
said, "Develop river-like generosity, sun-like bounty and earth-like
In the eyes of God no spiritual exercise, no penitence, no
prayer, no vigil has greater significance than removing the misery of
fellow human beings, bringing consolation to distressed hearts, and
helping the downtrodden. For the Sufis service to mankind is the
highest form of worship.
It is prayer in action. Sufism grew on the rich soil of Islam.
Its roots go deep to draw sustenance from the very core of that soil.
If Sufism is a celebration of love then Islam is also a religion of
Service of fellow beings is an expression of divinity It is love
of God that finds its most exalted expression in the service of
fellow beings. It is also a love that knows no boundary.
Nizamuddin Auliya mentions the story of Prophet Abraham. The
Prophet never took his meals without a guest joining him. He
sometimes went for miles in search of a guest.
One day he was alone with a polytheist. He hesitated giving food
to this man till Divine admonition came to him: "Abraham! How is it
that we can give life to this man yet you cannot give him food?!"
The message is clear: A traveller of the Path transcends all
barriers of cult or race, caste or gender, language or geography in
helping his fellow creatures. True religion does not divide it
It is our union with God, our gift of friendship to one another.
One day a man presented a pair of scissors to Baba Farid. "Give me a
needle", he told the man, "I sew (and join). I do not cut (and
divide)". Violence only begets more violence. Nizamuddin Auliya used
to say that if a man places a thorn in your way and you place another
thorn in his way, there will be thorns everywhere.
It is only acts of forgiveness and unbiased love which can break
this vicious circle. We need to heed messages of peace more than ever
We live in a world torn by conflict and violence, destruction
and despair. The world is replete with desolate hearts that are
parched with fear and distrust, envy and hatred.
The Sufis' 'message of the heart' is a call to unearth the
streams of love buried in our hearts. These waters can make gardens
of peace bloom once again.
b. HOTDOG MAN
By Alex Moore
I woke up. I didn't feel like getting up, I never did. I am
enslaved. I have been made to work in a drink stall by an old grumpy
man who doesn't pay me and he yells at me every day. I get up our of
bed staggering. I change into my work clothes. And started walking I
say "goodbye" to may fellow slaves who are slaved to clean houses and
carry water and bricks. I walk outside. I can smell the pollution of
the hussle and bussle. We have an apple tree out the front of our
orphanage. I pick some for the day. I keep walking down the path with
trees and bushes lined on each side. Through them I can see the
temples. I am getting closer to my favourite watering hole. I finally
get there. I have water bottle that I carry with me to work. I fill
it up with water. It is really murky and brown. And I can see the
dirt sinking to the bottom. I take a sip. I wonder if there is such
thing a pure clean drinking water. As I pass my friends' houses I can
see they are getting ready for work. Only one more mile to the drink
stall I work at. I sell cokes, fruit juices, and hotdogs. I am nearly
there. I can hear the cars and trucks with their loud horns. I
finally get there but two minutes late. My boss greeted me with an
angry expression on his face. He was a tall man who looks like Osama
Bin Laden. "Where have you been?" he yelled, "we have been very
busy!" as he spat on my face. "All right all right" I sobbed and
walked of and put my apron on. We were busy today. The same old white
tourists coming up and teasing us. Finally it was knock of time. My
boss yelled "GO HOME YA UGLY KID!" So I set off walking home glumly.
Past my friends house. Past my favourite watering hole. And past the
apple tree. It was fried rice for tea. With lots of flies. I am
really tired. I head off to bed. Its only 8pm. As I lie in bed I
wonder. when I will get a new pair of sandals.
(Alex Moore is a class 9th standard student. He has written this
essay after listening stories from his teachers and other people and
discussing with parents and main source of inspiration, Alex
Popovich, a senior teacher at Penola High School.)
3. TWO WAYS
Q. Why your yahoo group called arkitect95 ?
By Mohammas Irshad, Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh.
A . There are two questions- 1. about the word 'arkitect' and 2.
The name of our organisation is Ark Foundation and we call it
ARK. 'Arkitect' was derived from ARK and pronounce as 'architect',
meaning a person who design and supervise developmental work.
The second part of the question refers to the formation year. Though
Ark Foundation got a registered status in 2002, it was 1995 when we
started our first village programme. In the beginning we did not
realise the importance of registration. Our school in the village
recognised first by the UP government than our organisation.
ONE YEAR NEW DHAPO COLONY.
The readers are requested to send their ideas and experiences
before 25th of every month. to share with other people through this
newsletter. Comments, criticism and questions are also welcome.
Please visit arkitectindia,
for earlier issues of The Arkitect and photographs of volunteers in
a. One Year in Dhapo Colony Slun
On September 1st we will complete one year in Dhapo Colony Slum.
We will be having a small function to mark one year in which we will
evaluate our success and failure and work on how to improve our
activities to provide maximum result with limited resources.
We have also given topics for essay and paintings to slum
children. Children have also written some thing for their friends in
Penola High School, Australia. The prize winning paintings and piece
of writings will be sent to Alex as souvenirs.
Though only three will be winners from each category of events,
we are planning to give something to all the participants. Our prize
will be in the form of study materials and may be few cloths or toys.
We are still thinking about it.
We will be happy to receive suggestion about the programme. We
are planning on a very small level so that this time we don't
Please send your suggestion before August 20, 2003 so that we
will have enough time to do it on September 01, 2003.
b. Annual Award
Ark foundation is thinking on the line of introducing award in
the memory of one's dear one like Ark Sufi Saheb Award for
My grand father, late Mohiuddin Chishti, popularly known as Sufi
Saheb, passed away in 1998. His post dinner session with children
has a greatly influence on me in shaping my thinking and working for
people in need. It is in his memory Ark Foundation is going to start
Ark Sufi Saheb Award.
In the same manner, ARK is inviting people who would like to
start award in the name of his/her dear one. People from India and
abroad are welcome.
Interested person may kindly send his/her request before
August 20, 2003 and awards for the same purpose may should be send
by August 25, 2003.
Suggestions are also welcome in this regards. Kindly send your
request and suggestions on ark@...
Dr. Shaheen Ansari