Discovering Excellence by Serving our Homeland (DESH) Foundation, aims to inspire the youth of our country to give meaning to their lives by developing their skill sets and using these skills for the betterment of the nation. Based in Delhi / NCR, the foundation aims to sensitise the youth to the fact that service to the nation is one of the highest forms of service. DESH uses a two-pronged approach – the first is to introduce the youth to the basic aspects of our heritage and culture and the second is to impart knowledge through experiential learning. The foundation endorses out-of-classroom and learning-by-doing approaches to teaching. Once the student becomes inspired by our cultural heritage, he / she will be able to tap into his / her unique skills to reach out to fellow Indians.
DESH was founded in 2011 by Malvika Halwasiya, who is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she also did her A-Levels in the UK. Malvika has a educational background in Economics and Finance and was an active contributor to the university's students union. As a committee member and leader of various students societies, Malvika organized several public lectures, short workshops and cultural awareness days for fellow students. Her experience at school in the UK coupled with her experiences at university made her realize that though Indian students have a strong educational foundation,they lack exposure to out of classroom and co-curricular activities that build upon text book knowledge. Malvika did two internships for the Goldman Sachs and was even offered a job, but decided to return to India after graduation and focus on working with the Indian youth and promoting awareness of Indian culture and heritage.
DESH Foundation conducts activities for school and college students. Activities include – visits to heritage sites, museums & galleries, heritage walks, workshops, talks and inter-school competitions. DESH also partners with other organisations for modules on Indian culture and rituals, entrepreneurship, art, etc. For younger classes, DESH conducts workshops on art and craft, storytelling and communication skills. For middle and senior school, DESH conducts workshops on various careers options, studying abroad and soft skills. Our visits to museums such as the National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, are most popular. Apart from a guided walk of the selected museum exhibits, students are involved in interactive discussions and individual as well as group activities. DESH also conducts a unique programme, which gives students information about the significance of various everyday rituals and practices. To make it more interactive, students are provided with clay, flowers and sweets (mithai), and are told about the meaning behind rituals such as worshipping trees, touching the feet of elders for blessings, singing bhajans and hymns, etc., while participating in a group puja using the materials provided. Similar practices from all religions are also highlighted. DESH is currently working on training for teachers in art and entrepreneurship as well as hands-on handicraft workshops in schools. Though DESH conducts short one-off activities, the endeavor is to introduce students and teachers to the concept of co-curricular education and help the school take it forward as an in-house initiative. Programmes are conducted by people in the concerned field and DESH acts as an organizer and facilitator, connecting schools to various other organizations and individuals. DESH has partnered with several organizations who conduct various programmes for the schools that DESH is connected with. We work with all types of schools but a majority of our schools are those run by or supported by NGOs and family trusts.
DESH is a non-profit organization and most (with one or two exceptions) events are not charged. Our foundation is supported by other socially inclined organizations and a few private donors. At DESH, it is our constant endeavor to reach out to new schools and organizations for collaboration opportunities. If you would like to connect us to schools, individuals or organizations, please get in touch with us at email@example.com