Student Felicitation Program at Chibbo SOGG Learning & Information Centre

Free tuitions classes for the children at Chibbo SOGG Learning & Information Centre has been running since 2014. Later, the learning centre also branched out and formed a sub-centre at Tirwa Gaon in the year 2019, taking in a greater number of students. Both the centre and sub-centre have been running smoothly and successfully till date, where after school, the children come everyday to study. Our main vision has always been, to provide quality education to the children and reduce the rate of school/college dropouts in the villages. This year, the students from Chibbo learning centres have passed their 10th and 12th standard board exams with exceptionally good marks which has brought immense pride and joy to us all. We held a felicitation ceremony on the 23rd of July at Chibbo SOGG main centre in order to celebrate their hard work and motivate the students even further. The students, their parents, teachers and the managing committee members were all present. We hope the students continue to do well in their studies in the future.

Documentary Presentation at Bong SOGG Learning & Information Centre

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Conducting awareness programs on waste management and segregation was part of our Environment month activity. GFF Helps Representative Miss Surabhi visited Mt. Aben Primary School in Bong busty on 15th June. The students were taught about the various kinds of waste and she also raised awareness around the importance of segregating different types of waste through fun activities. On 28th June Miss Surabhi along with our intern Miss Vidisha, visited Development School in Mangal Dara, to conduct the second awareness program. The children were shown power point presentation and videos on conservation of nature. Later the children were divided into groups and were asked to discussed among themselves about what they had learned. Each group then came forward and explained their learnings.

Awareness Program on Waste Segregation & Management

Conducting awareness programs on waste management and segregation was part of our Environment month activity. GFF Helps Representative Miss Surabhi visited Mt. Aben Primary School in Bong busty on 15th June. The students were taught about the various kinds of waste and she also raised awareness around the importance of segregating different types of waste through fun activities. On 28th June Miss Surabhi along with our intern Miss Vidisha, visited Development School in Mangal Dara, to conduct the second awareness program. The children were shown power point presentation and videos on conservation of nature. Later the children were divided into groups and were asked to discussed among themselves about what they had learned. Each group then came forward and explained their learnings.

Along with the students, even the teachers and parents actively participated with enthusiasm. Our aim of conducting this awareness programs in primary schools was to aid in inculcating habits of being responsible towards keeping the environment clean and raise such consciousness in them. The comics with themes of pollution and conservation of environment made by our students from SOGG Learning centres were also used for awareness program.

General Health Check-ups

One of our ongoing projects have been the healthcare projects which has been ongoing for 3 years now since 2020 in the three villages of Bong, Pudung and Chibbo. Regular Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar check-ups are essential to keep a track of your overall health. GFF Helps has been providing these Sugar and Blood Pressure check- ups regularly. This way the residents of the villages need not worry about having to travel all the way to nearest health clinics in the town. Also, the elderly in the village who have trouble travelling long distance are able to avail the health check-ups in the comfort of their own home.

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Disaster Awareness Program

On the occasion of World Environment Day, a Disaster Awareness Programme was organised by All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) in collaboration with Save the Hills on 5th June at DISHA hall, Kalimpong. All NGO’s and community development projects had been invited. Representing GFF helps India, Miss Surabhi Subba attended this programme which started from 10 am in the morning.

It was a very informative and thought-provoking awareness program since the topics of the program was all related to the rising waste disposal problems in Kalimpong and its effects on the land and impending challenges. AIWC General Secretary Mrs. Catherine Lobo, spoke about the mismanagement of waste disposal and explained how by implementing small conscious changes we can produce less waste. Dr. Sang Zimba, health officer of Kalimpong Municipality also spoke about similar issues and introduced the new corn starch biodegradable bag that is to be used instead of plastic bags from July onwards. We got to learn and understand a more on-ground perspective of the disastrous effects of plastic waste.

Environment Day Village Cleanup at Bong

Every year we celebrate World Environment Day (WED) on 5 June in order to encourage and raise awareness and action for the protection of the environment. This year we observed the World Environment Day by holding a village cleanup along with the 8 Self-Help Group (SHG) Members at Bong Village. All of us gathered and started the village cleanup at 1:30 pm in the afternoon. We formed a rally and shouted slogans such “Save Earth Save Lives”, to raise environmental consciousness in the village. The rally went through the village and simultaneously everyone was picking up garbage and waste along the way.

This year we wanted to start the environment day by putting effort to care for our existing surroundings, preserving it & keeping it clean. We ended the village cleanup at Sir Owen G Glenn Learning & Information Centre, by cleaning the learning centre and surrounding areas. Great efforts were put in by everyone, and we hope that the message conveyed through this clean up reaches everyone in the village.

Mobile Library

Mobile Library is one of the most important and long running projects of GFF Helps India. This project is carried out in all the three SOGG Learning & Information centres in Pudung. Bong, Chibbo, and in Debanjan Girls Academy. Every month we take a fresh set of books to the centres, since along with school education our aim is also help these children develop habits that will enable them to excel in their professional careers as well.

Miss Surabhi GFF Helps representative conducted the Mobile Library session in Debanian Girls Academy on 3rd June. She then visited Chibbo. Rudung, and Bong SOGG learning centres for Mobile Library on 22nd June, 23rd June and 27th June respectively and was accompanied by our intern Miss Vidisha Pradhan. A small activity was also carried out where the children were given the comics on environmental awareness made by students from all the three centres. They were then asked to explain the message in the comics to rest of the students. Our main objective for using the comics made by the children was to let them know that their drawings, messages in them are being heard and useful in bringing change.

“Reading is to mind what exercise is to body and prayer is to soul!” – Matthew Kelly

Anti-Plastic Drive

Plastic waste is a dangerous environmental issue that needs to be addressed urgently. It creates a large problem for wildlife, their habitat and the quantity and the plastic waste is being produced is unmanageable. Plastic has been so essential in our everyday lives that we are the major contributors of huge lumps of this waste. This Year’s Enviornment Day Theme was also “Say no to plastic”. Anti – Plastic Drive is an initiative of the Municipality of Kalimpong in collaboration with KANGON (Kalimpong All NGO Network) to make Kalimpong a plastic free place.

From 1st of July onwards single-use plastic is being completely banned in Kalimpong. The drive started at 9:30am in the morning and members of different NGO’s along with Municipality Chairman Mr. Ravi Pradhan and other members of municipality went around the shops in Kalimpong, handing them the pamphlet containing the new rules and requesting them to follow it. They were also made aware of the new biodegradable corn starch bags that is to be used. This anti-plastic drive was our collective effort to bring about change and make each other realise to hold ourselves accountable for the waste we create.

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Good health is a vital part of a happy and successful life. The right to Health is a fundamental right of every individual across all countries. In order to bridge this gap, Glenn Family Foundation supports free medical camps that are provided to underprivileged people where free checkups and free medicines are provided. The Rotary Club of Darjeeling organised a Free Medical Camp at Chotta Mangwa on the 23rd of April 2023. GFF Helps team members were the integral part of this important event.

Chotta Mangwa is a beautiful and scenic village that is located on a ridge at the top of the Mangwa hill (above Teesta bazar). Unfortunately, there are no hospitals in the village and to avail medical facilities the nearest medical Centres are either in Takling village or Takdah Cantonment and if there are bigger cases, then they are further referred to Kalimpong and Darjeeling District hospitals. By organising this health camp many people were able to receive free medical check-ups without having to travel long distances and bear the brunt of transportation costs. The number of patients who attended the medical camp was around 350 approximately. The main objectives of a free medical camp are to provide free medical care and treatment to underprivileged people, raise awareness and educate people about healthcare along with referring severe cases to operations for further treatment. The Free Medical Health Camp was able to accomplish these objectives, since along with free medical checkups, the patients were also given free medicines. Medical checkups are important as they can identify underlying illness and further prevent it. Since many patients came to receive medical treatment, they became aware of their health issues. The doctors also recommended some patients with severe cases for follow-up sessions. Moreover, this time, there were different doctors of different medical specialisations each an expert in their own field. The reason for including diverse medical professionals was so that the medical camp could cater to the myriad of problems faced by the villagers. On the demand of the villagers for a psychologist in order to treat their mental health issues we also had a psychologist on the team.

There were 14 doctors (from Darjeeling and Siliguri) along with 8 team members from Jamgon Kongtrul Eye Centre, 8th Mile Kalimpong. They have been doing medical camps with us before and have collaborated again for this important camp. Some of the severe cases were referred to District Hospital in Darjeeling and some of the needy cataract patients were sent to the Jamgon Kongtrul Eye hospital in Kalimpong for further treatment. Overall, the medical camp was a huge success, and for it to be so there was a team of people working together who ensured that everything went smoothly. The members of the Rotary Club were present in the medical camp helping with the registration, sugar &pressure checkupsand also distributing the free medicines. The six Samajas of the ChotaMangwa village, namely Paropkar Samaj, Sunagava Samaj, Gram SewakYuwa Sang Samaj, Ghatani Samaj, Navin Pragati Samaj, and Makhamali Samaj also extended their full support in the medical camp. Members of the SOGG Saichik Welfare Society Kalimpong also volunteered in the medical camp. The Free medicines that were distributed in the Medical Camp were sponsored by YUMA Nursing Home & Diagnostic Centre Pvt. Ltd of Darjeeling. Mr. Saom Tshering Namchu (Project Director GFF) and his family had personally sponsored the lodging of the 14 doctors, four paramedics, and 18 Rotarians. Along with this, he had also organised dinner and breakfast for all the overnight guests (doctors and Rotarians and GFF volunteers) in his Quo Vadis Farm. Transportation for the doctors (3 vehicles) and the SOGG Sacihik Welfare Society, Kalimpong (2 vehicles) was provided by GFF Helps. The medical camp started at 8 am in the morning and lasted till 4 pm in the evening. Towards the end, there was a small thanksgiving ceremony for the medical professionals as they had given us their valuable time and for providing their services. 6 new stretchers were distributed to the 6 Samajas of the villages, which were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Darjeeling.

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On the 4th of March 2023, the final presentation for the Grassroots Comic was held virtually via Zoom. Students of the 3 centres of SOGG L&I Centres Bong, Chibbo and Pudung participated. Mr. Amrith Basumatari (facilitator) and Ms. Minket Lepcha (Co-facilitator) also joined. GFF Helps India team (Melissa and Nikita) along with Mr. Saom were the moderators for the presentation. A total of 10 groups presented their Grassroots Comic. Mr. Amrith gave feedbacks and comments after each presentation. The topics/issues that the students had chosen were on Pollution, Women Empowerment, Gender Equality and Water Scarcity. The final comic from each group will be made into a booklet. It will also be printed and spread within the village to aware people regarding the issues.


Like every year this year too GFF Helps India celebrated the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March with the Self Help Group members of Bong, Chibbo and Pudung. Melissa visited Bong and Chibbo village while Nikita visited Pudung village. They talked about the history and importance of Women’s Day celebration and had a cake cutting ceremony by the elderly women of the villages. They took saplings of locally grown trees and distributed it to the participants and informed them about the importance of reforestation and environmental degradation. The participants were also told to grow the saplings in the name of their close ones (Women). The participants were happy and shared some of their thoughts during the celebration.

Awareness/ Sensitization programs

Awareness/ Sensitization programs have been a crucial part of GFF Helps India especially while working for the rural communities of Kalimpong since 2020. The main motive behind these awareness programs is to make the villages aware of the facilities and support that are available for them and their family.

On the 10th of March 2023 an Awareness/ Sensitization program was organized in SOGG Chibbo by Sakhi: One Stop Centre. The resource person was Ms. Deepa. There were 40 women from the Self Help Groups that participated in the awareness program. The program was interactive with lots of questions and answers. The resource person explained about the program and how the people could get help from the program. Along with the awareness, Women’s Day was also celebrated by cutting cake. One Stop Centres (OSC) intends to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. Women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race and culture will be facilitated with support and redressal. Aggrieved women facing any kind of violence due to attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honour related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting who have reached out or been referred to the OSC will be provided with specialized services.


Reading is important because it develops your mind and gives you excessive knowledge and lessons of life. It helps you understand the world around you better. It keeps your mind active and enhances your creative ability. Reading improves your vocabulary and develops your communication skills. GFF Helps India has been involved in the Mobile Library Project since 2020 in the SOGG L&I Centres and 2022 in Debanjan Share Girls Football Academy.

The 4th visit to Debanjan Share Girls Football Academy was made by Nikita on the 15th of March 2023. There were 15 girls present on that day. The girls had just finished practicing football as their daily routine when they came to their study hall for the Mobile Library session. The girls brought with them their story books and shared what they had read one by one. When they got to know about the new set of books that was sponsored by Ms. Lee Geok Boi, they were excited to read those books. In the next visit a reading session will be conducted by the interns.


On the 14th of March 2023, GFF Helps India Representative, Ms. Nikita Rai and SOGG L&IC, Pudung Coordinator, Mr. Suk Tshering Lepcha attended the seminar on Women’s Day and Women Empowerment by Sakhi: One Stop Centre as guests of honor. The participants were SHG leaders, NGOs and Government officials. The speakers were Government Officials and women from different backgrounds. The One Stop Centre presented about their work and their collaboration with different NGOs including GFF Helps India. They also talked about women empowerment.


On the 17th of March 2023, Nikita visited SOGG Pudung for Mobile Library Project. There were 15 students who were present. She distributed the new set of books and brought back the old ones. She briefed the students about the new books and a fun interactive session was held. On that day she was also bid farewell by the students and staff of the Centre as it was her last visit to the Centre as GFF Helps India Representative.

Joe FisherGFF
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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

Helen Keller, U.S. author, educator, and disability rights advocate

A month long activity for the students of SOGG Learning centres – that comprised of indoor and outdoor sports, and co-curricular activities came to an end in Chibbo on the 5th of February. Ms. Lee Geok Boi and her friends from Singapore sponsored the Winter Camp this year too. Together with Taekwondo Association of Chibbo village, the event was organized for the children of SOGG centre Chibbo. The primary aim of Winter Camp is to keep the students engaged during the long winter break and help them pick an interest in the field of sports or arts. Healthy competition was held in various categories for both senior and junior students. The finale was held in the SOGG Learning centre premises, wherein prizes were distributed to the participants. The chief guest for the event was Mr. Paul Simick, a prominent figure in the field of Taekwondo in West Bengal. Mr. Saom, GFF Helps Representatives, interns too attended the finale. The managing committee and the guardians too supported the finale, which was executed in an organized manner. It was observed that students have been making progress in their own way. Some have become excellent football players, while other have learned how to play chess, while the rest have picked interest in writing, singing, dancing and debating. GFF Helps will henceforth be taking up initiative to help students form groups based on their own interest viz., debate club, literary club, fine arts club, sports club etc. The finale ended with a warm fellowship over which beautiful memories were relived and progress of the children assessed.


On the 7th of February, the Winter Camp finale was held in the SOGG Learning centre of Bong. The chief guest of the event was Mr. Nereus Mukhia, President of Kalimpong NGO Network- with whom several projects have been implemented in the past especially during the pandemic. After the welcoming of the guests, the students performed a welcome dance, which was followed by friendly games that were organized for the students as well as the parents, who showed their support with their participation. Mr. Saom provided words of encouragement to the parents as well as the students. Mr. Nereus shared the past collaborative work with GFF. The Prizes for the activities that were held in the previous month were distributed to the participants. 4 students who performed well in the previous academic year were also felicitated, to acknowledge their hard work and efforts. A friendly football match between the parents was held, followed by lunch, which marked the end of the finale. Overall, the students showed active participation in various sports and arts. It has been observed that the students of Bong Learning centre are excellent badminton players; hence, GFF Helps will be working together with Badminton Association of Kalimpong to hold workshops so that students understand both theoretical as well as practical implications of the sport.

“The winter camp
kept me engaged.
Since I do not have any siblings (I have two elder sisters and no brother) at home, I used to visit the centre and take part in various activities that helped kept boredom away while at the same time helping me realize my interest in badminton.”

Aven Rai (Student)


On the 7th of February, an awareness program by Indian Postal Department of Kalimpong was held. The program was organized by GFF Helps India. The resource person was Mr. Dipankar Pradhan, inspector of Kalimpong sub-division post office. The primary topic was Sukanya Samridhi Account, which is a Government of India backed saving scheme targeted at the parents of girl children. The scheme encourages parents to build a fund for the future education of their female child, which can be opened at any India Post office or a branch of some authorised commercial banks. The parents as well as students who had gathered for the Winter Camp Finale took part in the program, which provided useful information and emphasized the importance of female child education. Many parents today, have realized the importance of educating their daughters because of which they are working hard to send them to school.


On the 10th of February, GFF Helps Representative visited Debanjan Share Girls’ Academy for the 3rd round of Mobile library. 15 girls were present, wherein a reading session was held. The girls were also asked to share stories from the books that they had borrowed from the library. The beneficiaries have been making the most use of the books that is helping them improve their vocabulary as well as reading skills. In the next visit, GFF Helps Representative will be conducting fun filled activities for the students of Debanjan Share Girls’ Academy.

“These books have kept me engaged during winter break. I can now read better than before and my grammar has also improved.”

-Pinky Rai, Debanjan Share Girls’ Academy


One-Stop Centre scheme is a sub-scheme of the National Mission for Empowerment of Women. One Stop Centres (OSC) are intended to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. Women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race and culture are facilitated with support and redressal. Aggrieved women facing any kind of violence due to attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honour related crimes, -acid attacks or witch-hunting who have reached out or been referred to the OSC are provided with specialized services.

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • To provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence, both in private and public spaces under one roof.
  • To facilitate immediate, emergency and non-emergency access to a range of services including medical, legal, psychological and counseling support under one roof to fight against any forms of violence against women.

Although crime rates against women in Kalimpong is almost negligible according to statistical data, there are victims who have been silently suffering. Some of the cases are reported while many are unreported. Therefore, organizing such an awareness program was considered necessary to make the villages aware of the facilities and support that are available for them and their family. 10 women of Pudung took part in the event which was held in the office of Self Help Group- Pudung Dara. The key resource person, Ms. Salina Thapa provided words of encouragement to the participants and shared the objectives of the Scheme.


On the 10th of February, GFF Helps India organized an awareness program in Pudung on Mental Health and tobacco. The key resource person of the event was Ms. Sarah Ralte and Mr. Bibek Pradhan, representatives of DMHP and NTCP.

The Government of India launched the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982. The District Mental Health Program (DMHP) was launched under NMHP in the year 1996 (in IX Five Year Plan). The main objective of DMHP is to provide Community Mental Health Services and integration of mental health with General health services through decentralization of treatment from Specialized Mental Hospital based care to primary health care services. The team of workers at the district under the program consists of a Psychiatrist, a Clinical Psychologist, a Psychiatric Social worker, a Psychiatry/Community Nurse, a Program Manager, a Program/Case Registry Assistant and a Record Keeper.

Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08 during the 11th Five-Year-Plan, with the aim to (i) create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, (ii) reduce the production and supply of tobacco products, (iii) ensure effective implementation of the provisions under “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003” (COTPA) (iv) help the people quit tobacco use, and (v) facilitate implementation of strategies for prevention and control of tobacco advocated by WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control .

10 women from Pudung attended the program which was interactive, informative as well as engaging.


The 11th of February marked the closure of Winter Camp 2023 in Pudung Learning centre. The chief guest was Mr. Anand Pradhan- Secretary of SBI Pensioner’s Association Kalimpong. Along with Mr. Pradhan, Mr. NT Lepcha and several prominent members of the Managing committee, parents, Mr. Saom, GFF Helps Representatives and interns also took part in the finale. Succulents were given to the guests so as to minimize the usage of non eco-friendly materials like khada or traditional scarf.

The students performed a welcome dance and sang beautiful songs- which reflect the confidence that they have built over the years. One of the parents sang a beautiful Nepali song that kept the audience engaged. A game for the mothers was also organized that made the event fun. Students who had participated in various events of the Winter Camp were given prizes and their talent acknowledged. The team of Pudung expressed their gratefulness to Ms. Lee Geok Boi and her friends from Singapore who has been supporting the event since many years now.

Mr. Anand expressed his willingness to donate a table tennis board to the students of Pudung. GFF Helps will henceforth collaborate with Table Tennis Association of Kalimpong to organize a workshop on Table Tennis so that students get oriented about the game from a theoretical perspective. The finale ended with a fellowship over lunch that was prepared by the villagers who volunteered to prepare lunch for the students as well as guests of the finale.


After the commencement of new academic year of 2023, GFF Helps Representatives visited SOGG Learning centre of Bong for Mobile Library Project on February 2023. New set of books which were donated by Ms. Lee Geok Boi on her visit to Kalimpong, was also distributed. The students were happy to receive new books which included comics, fiction, biographies, and puzzle books. The participation of the students in Grassroots Comic that was held last month has boosted the children’s interest in comics, which will help them look at comics from a different perspective. A reading session too was held followed by spelling competition. The students of Bong have made a lot of progress since the start of Mobile Library Project in 2020. GFF Helps Representatives will be visiting the centre next month.


On the 17th of February, GFF Helps Representative visited the SOGG Learning centre of Pudung for Mobile Library project. Books that were donated by Ms. Lee Geok Boi were distributed to the students who were excited to read books. A reading session along with spelling competition was held to assess the progress of the students. GFF Helps Representative will be visiting the centre next month for the mobile library project.

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A mega health camp organized by the Rotary Club of Darjeeling, sponsored by Glenn Family Foundation Helps India & Mayukh Tea was held in Risheehat- a tea estate, on the 20th of November. The camp was held in collaboration with Yuma hospital, Darjeeling and the local community of Risheehat. For a population of 2500, there are two sub health centres in Risheehat, which is supervised by a medical nurse. For medical checkup, the residents visit Darjeeling town which is half an hour away. Risheehat, was therefore a suitable place where medical intervention was the need of the hour. Therefore, after much deliberation and planning for over a month, a mega health camp was planned which came into fruition on the 20th of November 2022.

Mayukh Tea undertook food and logistic responsibilities and the members of the 7 community helped in preparing lunch, tea and snacks for the volunteers. GFF Helps India sponsored medicines as well as water and soft drinks for the volunteers of the event. The beneficiaries were given medicines for free after consultation. The event was successful as the number of target beneficiaries were met, who got their medical needs fulfilled.

14 medical professionals associated with Yuma Hospital provided free service to 534 beneficiaries- ranging from dermatologist, general physicians, gynecologist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthopedic, and psychiatrist. The medical camp aimed to target not only the physical wellbeing but also mental- thereby presenting itself as a holistic camp (Mental health is not given much priority in India yet). From the data, it was observed that the number of females were more than the number of male beneficiaries, with a handful of children below 18years of age. More than half of the patients were above the age of 50 years. Orthopedic, general physician and ophthalmologist/optometrist were most visited reflecting high case of eye and bone ailments. Mr. Yugen, coordinator of SOGG Bong Learning centre volunteered in the camp and monitored the blood and sugar level of 220+ patients along with GFF Helps Representatives- Melissa and Nikita, who helped at the registration counter, and monitored the blood pressure levels of concerned individuals as well.


This camp was very much needed in our place. I got my eye tested today. I have called all my family members
to take get themselves checked because we have to go to Darjeeling town which is far and expensive for us.’

Sarmistha Thapa 43 years, Risheehat
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GFF India engages and empower with the community


On the 17th and 18th of November pickle, vinegar and squash making training was held in the SOGG Learning centre of Pudung. The program was organized by GFF Helps India in collaboration with the Food Processing Unit of Kalimpong. More than 21 female beneficiaries from different Self Help Groups of Pudung took part in the programme. The staff of SOGG centre Pudung volunteered in the two day training programme, which was rewarding.

‘I will definitely put the skill that I have acquired to good use, probably for some financial purposes. Thank you for organizing a programme like this in our village.’

Mrs. S. Lepcha


Every year on the 14th of November, the birth anniversary of Lt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India is commemorated. Since 1947, his birthday had been a public event although the Indian government officially declared the day as children’s day only 10 years after India gained independence. Due to his love for children, November 14th is observed as Children’s Day in India.

GFF Helps Representative Melissa visited the SOGG Learning centre of Bong to celebrate Children’s Day with the students. Mr. Subash Rai- Assistant teacher shared a few words on Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, while Melissa shared words of encouragement and motivation since the final examination of all the students is round the corner. The celebration ended with distributing pies and sweets to the students who were already engaged in their daily studies at the SOGG Learning centre.

In the other SOGG Learning centres of Chibbo and Pudung, the teachers too celebrated Children’s Day by cutting cake and sharing few words of motivation.

‘Thank you for your kind words dear teachers. We will work even harder and make all of you proud.’

Anisha Rai Student, Bong Learning centre


Focus on health and health related projects have been one of the priorities of GFF Helps India. During the health crisis of 2020, GFF Helps started ‘Health Project’ wherein; the coordinators of SOGG Centres of Bong, Chibbo & Pudung were given Blood Pressure monitoring device as well as glucometer to provide easy access to needy individuals. The staff of SOGG centres was given training initially, after which they have been working at the grassroots level to date.

On the 1st of November, GFF Helps Representative, Ms. Melissa visited Bong to monitor the health project. BP as well as glucose levels of 3 individuals were checked- a 90 year old lady, a 45 year old lady who recently suffered stroke that had led to partial paralysis and her husband- who suffers from high BP. Melissa also visited Chibbo on the 15th of November to monitor the health project. It has observed that monitoring is done keeping in mind hygiene and safety of the patients. The kits are sanitized after regular use and an antiseptic liquid is used to prevent further infection.

The Staff of SOGG centres have been doing commendable job by giving door-to-door service to needy patients. GFF Helps has been providing strips as well as needles for the smooth functioning of the Health Project.



‘Thank you sister Melissa for providing us with the strips and needles. We can ensure hygiene and safety of everyone.’

Yugen Lepcha Coordinator, Bong Learning centre


November marks the final month of studies in the academic calendar for most of the schools in Kalimpong, after which students appear for the final examination which determines their progress and promotion to higher class. The syllabus for the examination is comparatively vast; hence GFF Helps Project has reduced the monthly activities with the students. However, to encourage the students to perform better in their final examination, GFF Helps Representatives provided exam supplies. 45 students from Chibbo main centre and sub-centre, 35 students from Bong centre and 40 students of Pudung were given exercise books, pens, pencils and erasers. The students were grateful towards the concern and love of Sir Owen and have promised to work hard and do well academically this term.

‘Thank you Miss Melissa for supplying what the children needed. Some of them cannot afford to purchase a pencil. Thank you Sir. Owen.’

Sudeep Chettri Teacher, Pudung Learning centre


On the 21st of November, a workshop on Child Rights and Protection was organized by the North Bengal Child Rights NGO Network and Darjeeling District Administration. GFF Helps India Representative, Nikita attended the one day workshop in Darjeeling. Most of the NGOs working in the field of children from North Bengal area took part in the program which was informative and helpful. The main objective of the program was to celebrate ‘Child Rights Week’, to keep children below 18 years of age safe in the community. Another important topic covered in the workshop was on ‘Abuse’- definition and types. The importance of ‘Child Rights’ and the protection of children from 0-18 years were also discussed. It was informed that NGOs, Administration, ICDS workers, community counselors and each individual are deemed responsible for the protection of children.

Joe FisherGFF India engages and empower with the community
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The SOGG Learning centres of Bong, Chibbo and Pudung have been in function for more than a decade. The Open Learning and Information centres are used not only by the students but the community as a whole for various productive purposes. For awareness programs, training sessions, health camps, etc- these centres act as the main venue- where beneficiaries gather under one roof and a host of activities are organized.

For the smooth and efficient functioning of the centres, maintenance is deemed necessary. GFF Helps India has been on the forefront for the upkeep of the centres. In the month of August, SOGG learning centres of Bong and Chibbo received support from GFF Helps India for maintenance work- plastering of the centre walls as well as repair of main gate. The staff of respective SOGG learning centres volunteered in the process that has helped to achieve good results, which is a reflection of strong team work and good coordination among the beneficiaries. It has also helped instill a sense of ownership- that will help in the proper use of the centres and the resources.


On the 5th of September, every year in India, Teacher’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and therefore to appreciate the contribution made by teachers to society. Dr. Radhakrishnan was a renowned scholar, recipient of Bharat Ratna Award, first Vice-President, and second President of independent India. On the occasion of Teacher’s day, the students of SOGG Learning centres of Bong, Chibbo & Pudung honored their respective teachers by putting up a cultural performance, offering Khadas or traditional scarf and presenting a token of appreciation.

GFF Helps India representatives happened to be in Pudung for Mobile Library project, and they too were felicitated by the students. The sight of senior students guiding the juniors, team work and their contribution in the program is a marker of good guidance and teachings.


IL&FS is one of the largest talent development centres that attract young talent from the rural areas of Northeast India. The main aim of the centre has been to provide local people with skills development and employment opportunities. GFF Helps has been working in collaboration with IL&FS for many years- organizing awareness programs for the beneficiaries of SOGG Learning centres of Bong, Chibbo and Pudung. These programs help in empowering women, providing job security to young adults and employment opportunities in various sectors.

On the 9th of September, an awareness program under the leadership of Ms. Mamta Chettri of IL&FS was held, wherein more than 35 women members of different Self Help Groups took active part. Information on Nursing, Tailoring, Health and Wellness were covered and disseminated.

The participants of the session were keen on the training program offered by IL&FS. As a follow up of the session, the coordinatior of Chibbo Learning Centre will be further coordinating with the staff of IL&FS.


Although Kalimpong is a picturesque hill station, it is not devoid of social evils. To educate the local residents, a legal literacy program was held in Bong village on the 9th of September. The aim of the session has been to empower the poor and disadvantaged sections of society to seek and demand justice services. The key resource person of the program was Mr. Bishal Mangrati, Secretary of District Legal Services Authority. More than 40 local residents of Deorali, Bong took part in the session wherein many of their doubts were clarified.

Through this program, we hope the participants of the program can demand accountability, justice and effective remedies at all levels in unforeseen circumstances. Such useful information will help realize their problems and can thus procure justice through legal means.

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GFF Helps India engages with Education, Cleanliness and


GFF Helps India in collaboration with the Partner Organization (PO) SOGG L&I Centre started the Newspaper Project on the 1st of August 2022, in SOGG L&I Centre, Bong & Pudung Village and on the 18th of August in SOGG L&I Centre, Chibbo. Keeping in mind one of the main aims of the PO i.e. to provide information to the community, the newspaper project was started. There are two newspapers issued every day, The Telegraph (National) in English and Himalaya Darpan (Local) in Nepali. This project not only targets the students of the centres but also the community at large.

People have already started to benefit from the project. Students read the newspapers after their school while the elderly people read during the day time. The local and national news and information has now reached the Centres and is available to all.

“Gives students the power to express themselves through multi- literacy modes.”


During the monsoon season, plants & weeds tend to grow in a faster pace. Timely maintenance needs to be done in order to keep the environment clean and safe for children from insects and snakes. Hence, GFF Helps India Team in collaboration with SOGG Chibbo organized a cleanliness drive on the 13th of August, in SOGG Centre Chibbo.

Cleanliness drives are held regularly in all the SOGG centres. The students and parents have been aware of the importance of keeping the centre premises clean. Therefore the parents and students themselves volunteer to clean and make the drive successful every time. This kind of community involvement has built attachment towards the Centre and GFF.


India celebrated its 75th Independence Day on 15th August 2022. Like every year this year too, GFF Helps India in collaboration with SOGG Centres celebrated the occasion in the respective Centres. In Pudung, students and teachers along with the Centre Incharge and the Coordinator gathered in the Centre early morning and hoisted the National flag. National Anthem “Jana gana…” was sung. The teachers of the centre shared information about the special day. At the end the students were distributed sweets to remark a happy and a proud day. Similarly in the other Centres as well the Independence Day was celebrated. This way the students have been able to learn and gain knowledge.


With the increase in use of technology in every sphere of life and to cope up with the digital era, the need of internet connection and digital library in the Centres was felt. On the same day of the 75th Independence Day, the Digital Library Project was inaugurated by GFF Helps India in SOGG Centre, Chibbo. Digital libraries provide the students with the convenience of learning at their own comfort. Children and students of our villages do not own computers and laptops at an individual level. With the increase of school assignment, forms and other information that can only be found in the internet, it is necessary that we provide the facility at the Centres. The facility can be benefited by everyone in the village. We will be also brining a teacher who will guide the student in learning how to use computer and internet. Hence, we are now towards making our partner organization well equipped not only for the students but for the whole community.

Joe FisherGFF Helps India engages with Education, Cleanliness and
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Students of Bong showing their Art and Craft

On 5th June, students from BalKumari community school gathered on the occasion of ‘World Environment Day’. Several activities observing this special occasion, was conducted, such as: Clean-up campaign and group art work. Valuing the importance of the children’s educational classes in school, the sessions were conducted on two separate days one for each event. The excitement to both work and learn outside the classroom has always kept children interested and they have valued it.

“I really enjoyed doing the activity”.
SDG Sewing Project
Kritika Pradhan

Fish made with dried leaves and paint
Butterfly made out of dried leaves and paint
Group of students sharing their stories based in Environment Day
Students of Bong making their Crafts
Students of Chibbo doing Art on Environment Day
A student of Bong with her art





In order to keep the local stories alive Ms. Minket has been sharing stories based on nature and culture. During the CoVID19 pandemic, GFF Helps India along with her (GFF Helps Nepal Volunteer) conducted online storytelling sessions for the children of India and Nepal. For the first time children of Kalimpong got the opportunity to hear her stories in person. The session was held in all the 3 SOGG centres namely Deorali, Chibbo, Pudung and sub centre Kameshi. There she shared a story on Totola (medicinal flower) and Yeti. Along with the story, activities were also conducted based on meditation, self reflection and gratitude towards nature. A total of 60 students participated. The sessions were held in the evening time after the school hours. After the 2 hour session, children were happy to have learnt about a new story about their locally found Totola. Children were happier when they received a Totola flower from Ms. Minket as a gift of nature. 


“Stories tend to die if not shared with the upcoming generations”

Minket Lepcha
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