Unleashing Creativity

On 31st January 2024, GFF Helps India organized an art workshop at the main center, aiming to help students unleash their creativity and learn watercolor painting techniques. Led by GFF Helps intern Ms. Sweta Rai, the workshop saw around twenty-five students creating beautiful butterfly bookmarks and greeting cards using watercolors. The session encouraged students to use their imagination vividly, resulting in positive feedback from both students and teachers. This workshop was part of the Winter Camp held at Bong SOGG Learning Centre, which included various activities such as chess, debates, and sports tournaments, running from January to mid-February. The camp, supported by GFF Helps India, also featured science projects, awareness programs, and film presentations. The Winter Camp concluded with finales at Bong, Pudung, and Chibbo SOGG Learning Centres in February, where students showcased their talents and received awards. These activities aimed to engage students during their winter break, helping them develop new skills and gain knowledge. The Winter Camp and art workshop were highly successful, leaving students ready to start the new academic session with renewed vigor and confidence.

Engaging in Knowledge and Skill Enhancement: Workshops Attended by GFF Helps India

On 26th February 2024, North Bengal Child Rights Network (NBCRN) held its first General Meeting of the year in Siliguri, attended by GFF Helps India representatives Surabhi Subba and Mr. Suk Tshering Lepcha, focusing on membership discussions and the formation of office bearers. On 19th March, GFF Helps India’s volunteers participated in a Waste Management and Conservation Principles workshop led by Mr. Kinzong Bhutia, emphasizing the impact of single-use plastics and zero waste practices.

On 25th March, 18 students from Kalimpong College’s National Service Scheme (NSS) program visited Bong SOGG Learning and Information Centre for a Special Camp, conducting a quiz session, donating books and sports equipment, and engaging in friendly matches with the students. GFF Helps volunteers Surabhi and Bipasha assisted in coordinating the event. On 19th April, a mushroom cultivation program at Chhibo, organized with Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kalimpong, provided hands-on training to 15 participants. Senior scientist Dr. Basudev Kharga led the training, with GFF Helps volunteers Surabhi and Bipasha assisting.

On 20th April, a traditional broom-making workshop was held at Bong SOGG Centre, led by area coordinator Mr. Yugen Lepcha, teaching 17 participants of various ages how to make functional brooms from Thysanolaena plants, preserving socio-cultural ties. On 18th May, the GFF India team, including Project Director Mr. Saom Namchu and area coordinators, attended a workshop on Capacity Building and Awareness about the POCSO Act and Child Safety, featuring discussions led by Sister Subeshna from BSA and a session on Capacity Building by Mr. Milan Burdewa, benefiting centre teachers and others involved in child education.

Celebrating Reading, Women’s Day, and Creative Competitions

At Bong, Pudung, and Chibbo SOGG Learning and Information Centres, a Mobile Library session is held every month, bringing a fresh set of books covering various genres such as fiction, novels, comics, encyclopedias, and general knowledge. This initiative ensures that every student experiences the joy of reading.

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, GFF Helps India celebrated with the women and female students of Bong, Chibbo, and Pudung SOGG Learning & Information Centres. Representatives Surabhi Subba and Bipasha Maitra highlighted the significance of the day and discussed the theme “Invest in women, accelerate their progress.” The celebration included honoring the women with traditional dhaka khadas and a cake-cutting ceremony, during which women shared their positive experiences of societal changes and increased opportunities for independence.

On April 22nd, an art competition themed “Planet vs Plastic” was conducted among the children at all three centres. Surabhi Subba led the competition at Chibbo, while Bipasha Maitra conducted it at Pudung. The students created imaginative artworks, fostering awareness about making environmentally conscious decisions.Additionally, on May 24th, the GFF India Team met with Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and RLWCS to discuss the feasibility of implementing the Soochanapreneur Scheme in Bong, Chhibo, and Pudung. Representatives Surabhi and Bipasha, who had prepared questions after reviewing DEF materials, received answers and planned further discussions. On May 25th, the GFF India Team warmly welcomed Mr. Tharaka Munidasa, a former GFF Helps Sri Lanka representative, with traditional silken khadas. The team and Tharaka exchanged introductions, shared their current work, and discussed future plans.

Bringing Healthcare to Villages

One of the major projects of GFF Helps India is the Health Project, which has been ongoing in the villages of Bong, Chibbo, and Pudung since 2020. This project provides blood sugar and blood pressure checkups to residents, particularly focusing on the elderly who cannot easily travel to health centers.

The primary goal is to offer these essential healthcare services at the villagers’ homes, ensuring accessibility and convenience. Area Coordinators from the Glenn Partner Project conduct these tests regularly in their respective villages, allowing those who are too sick or far from health centers to receive basic health checkups.

For three years, this initiative has successfully catered to the vulnerable sections of society in these villages, offering free blood pressure and blood sugar tests regularly. The SOGG staff from Bong, Chibbo, and Pudung have been actively conducting these health checkups, especially throughout May, providing critical support during emergencies and enhancing the overall health and well-being of the village residents.


On the 10th of May, Surabhi and Bipasha visited St. Philomena’s Girls Higher Secondary School to felicitate Ms Leeom Lenchyo Lepcha along with the other Madhyamik pass outs, who received regular free tuition classes from our partner Glenn Project Learning centre in Chhibo. Ms Leeom scored the highest percentage in her 10th standard board exams in the entire Kalimpong District. We teamed up with KTV to take an interview of her and her father at her school.