Presidents Report – 2021

The Year that was and the vision board for the future.

As 2021 reaches the final months, Welhamites let us share with you what happened this year.

Very often we are asked what the ALUMNI does for us, why should we be a part of this collective, is not it enough that we were a part of a journey in School, does that not qualify us to be LOUD AND PROUD WELHAMITES.

Our very emphatic answer is Absolutely. Yes. However, I would like to take this opportunity to hopefully motivate you to be part of this amazing alumni we are a part of.

All of us who have worked hard, and I would like to add PROBONO, balancing our homes and careers to carve out time and energy to create a space and a feeling of community; a space, whether virtual through our social media platforms or through physical events, where Welhamites of all generations have had an opportunity to interact.

When I was in School in the late eighties early nineties many of us were daughters of ex Welhamites, second generation, the lingo the obsession for food and the basic experience of what to expect in School had already been inculcated. However, a few years later we had less and less exies sending their children to School. The Alumni in a conscious effort has tried to reconnect the girls and foster a sense of community beyond the groups one has kept up with over the years, hopefully encouraging you to send your girls back to School to experience the life and values of WELHAM.

We, as TEAM WELHAM, would like to share with you our work for this year. We continued our endeavour to try and make a difference, not only within our community, but beyond.

WE CARE, at the core of the work done by the Welham Girls Alumni Association (WGAA), is dedicated to helping the underprivileged, within and beyond the Welham Community.

Through WE CARE, the WGAA provides medical and financial assistance for those who cared for us in our formative years, bearajis, didis and retired teachers. We also help educate underprivileged girls in Dehra Dun.

Thank you Welhamites from all spheres who reached out and contributed to our WELHAM BREATHE Campaign with Mission Oxygen. Last year we had done our first social media crowd funding successfully with the AHAAN VAHAAN initiative,
Welham Wings: A Fundraiser campaign that funded a Welham Flight within 24 hours for migrant workers affected adversely by the COVID-19 Lockdown - raising an astounding amount of seventeen lacs.

2021 - YEAR OF IMPACT

Building on the success of our inaugural year of social media activation, the WGAA consolidated its position in the virtual space in the year 2021. Our biggest story - the success of Welham Breathe

​​WELHAM BREATHE

Welham Breathe was the collaborative endeavour of the Welham Girls' Alumni Association with Mission Oxygen, a non-profit initiative to help provide Oxygen to critical patients battling for their lives in hospitals during the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India. The sole purpose of this mission - help India breathes as the country gasped for air.

How did it operate? The Welham Community generated funds for Welham Breathe completely through digital and social media activation, using online crowd funding platform Ketto.org. The funds were thereon directed towards Mission Oxygen which was importing Oxygen Concentrators and then supplying them to hospitals in the worst affected areas in India omitting red tape completely.

The original target was set at Rs. 10 Lakhs – an amount that the campaign managed to raise within just hours. The target was then increased thrice after that! The success was resounding so much so that Cornell University’s CPAS department came on board as partner for the latter half of the campaign. Welham Breathe surpassed its original target thrice, we raised Rs. 2760000 within the stipulated 72-hour long window – funds that would now be enough to buy over fifty concentrators and save thousands of lives.

Welham Girls became the first Indian alumni network to successfully harness community activation for the greater good during the second wave of the Covid Pandemic. The campaign received huge appreciation not only from the boarding school community across the country but was featured in international and Indian press including Gulf News and News Laundry. Chief Campaign Officers Disha Chopra and Anjana Shastri were also featured as ‘Second Wave Superheroes’ on national TV News network – News X.

VISION & MISSION – PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE CONTINUOUS

  • Constant engagement for ex-Welhamites
  • Building Welham’s professional matrix
  • Insights for Potential Parents about School
  • Critical information sharing tool for the Welham Family
  1. Continuous activation of WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook pages of the Welham Girls’ Alumni
  2. Populating the pages on all platforms with members & work of the Welham Community
  3. Comprehensive Social and digital media policy and engagement through five successfully running ongoing campaigns:
  • Welham Woman: That focusses on the professional matrix and achievements of the Welham community
  • Welham Diaries: Nostalgia, Impressions & memories of School
  • Food From School: Recipes, food related Welham pictures and more
  • We Care: Ongoing campaign that focusses on the philanthropic arm of the WGAA & Welhamites in the field of Development.
  • Welham Love: Highlights reunions/meetups of the Welham community Our collaboration with the Doon School for a 2-week long campaign in February 2021 called ‘The Social’ was immensely popular and got a phenomenal response from the alumni of both schools.

BIG SUCCESS:

  • Brand building for Welham and the Welham alumni like never.
  • Huge push for Network activation
  • Accolades and huge appreciation for the Welham Social Media team from all members of ‘The Alumni League’ or TAL –
  • 3500 active members on Instagram and a corresponding success on Facebook & WhatsApp
  • International and national news coverage of our social campaigns
  • 2021 was also important for the WGAA as we became a part of TAL – The Alumni League

The Founding members of TAL are as follows: -

  • Old Cottonian Association India - K. Vijay Singh and Jaspal Sawhney
  • The Old Dalian’s’ Association – Tejvir Juneja and Jai Jhabua
  • Doon School Old Boys Society – Tarun Sawhney, Sameer Dhingra and Raghuvender Singh (Donny)
  • The Old Sanawarian Society -Sanjeev Sharma and Pankaj Sapru
  • Mayo College Old Boys Society – Vir Vikram Yadav and Col Bhawani Singh
  • Mayo Girls Alumni Association – Akanksha Bhargava and Jyoti Maini
  • Scindia Old Boys Association – Banjul Badal and Mitul Dikshit
  • Scindia Old Girls Association – Benu Malhotra and Charu Bhargava
  • The Old Sherwoodians Society – Anuj Bhargava and Vipin Belwal
  • Welham Old Boys Society – Gurjyot Singh and Rohit Jaiswal
  • Welham Girls Alumni Association - Shivani Anand, Disha Chopra and Renee Chandola

On 8th October 2021 at the Jamun Tree, Delhi Gymkhana Club a lunch was Co -Hosted by Welham Girls Alumni Association and Doon School Old Boys Society to kickstart the League. All eleven school representatives were present for the meeting to sign on twelve copies of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Alumni Associations. The idea of this forum is the need of the time. The schools and their alumni associations with a history and legacy have common values to share and can support each other. Vision: To bring benefits of an expanded peer network to all alumni in the league. Our vision is to involve the greatest possible number of alumni on an annual basis by creating a range of programs and services.

  • Create a platform offering networking opportunities for all League members through programmes, activities, and events.
  • Encourage a pan India membership by trying to nominate members from different geographic locations.
  • Commit to mentor and actively support Junior Alumni early in their careers, especially for TAL members.
  • Programmes will be created and interchanged every year between sports and cultural/academic. We have a large pool of alumni who can give talks, lectures, run workshops and offer skills training.
  • Sports/Cultural/Art Event - Once a year TAL creates an event which involves more people, changing the format so that it ensures a greater and varied member participation.
  • Networking requires fanfare for it to be all inclusive. However, at all events inter-school rivalries will be set aside for a common goal and ostentatious expenditure and one-upmanship will not be encouraged.
  • TAL members to coordinate on behalf of their alumni and interact with their respective schools. School Founders Days are a great showcase of our schools and a day's event within the school offers a wonderful opportunity for all to learn from each other. Our current students become aware that the network of alumni goes beyond the family of their own school. This also gives gravitas to our associations within school and with the respective current administrations. Limited numbers from each League member could be invited.
  • Create a virtual newsletter to be shared with our respective alum which combines the news of events by TAL, news of notable alumni as well as notable events in members' schools.

After soliciting inputs to create a shared value statement, TAL is committed to stand by:
Value 1: Continue the process of life-long learning
Value 2: Foster diversity and community strengthening.
Value 3: Receive valuable services to enhance their lives and careers; and
Value 4: Creating a worldwide community among the alumni body and facilitating opportunities for lifelong engagement.

As Welhamites, we are fortunate indeed to have been educated at one of the premier institutions of the country. In keeping with the school’s motto “Aartha Shanti Phala Vidya” (the true purpose of education is to bring peace to the suffering), the WGAA continues to ensure that the legacy of our Founder Principal, Ms Linnell remains true to the values she instilled in us. We take our moral responsibility to contribute to society and give back to the underprivileged very seriously through the We Care initiative.
The WGAA's We Care initiative has always actively supported retired staff members and current or retired accessory staff in need of help. We have organised and financed a major orthopaedic surgery to enable a Bearahji's 25-year-old paralysed son to walk, provided hearing aids for another’s 7-year-old son so that he could hear and repaid the medical loan of a deceased Bearahji to ease the burden on his aged widow. We have financed cardiac and cataract surgeries for retired teachers and give monthly supplementary pensions where required. Our aim is to aid and financial support where it is needed the most.

One for one Initiative:

We passionately believe that societal change comes with education and empowerment of women. Towards this end, the WGAA started the ‘One for One’ initiative in 2017. Through this initiative, for the past three years we have been supporting the education of fifty-six underprivileged girls living in the slums of Dehra Dun. We are doing this by collaborating with the Aasraa Trust, an organisation that educates, feeds, and rehabilitates street children, beggars and ragpickers from the streets of Dehra Dun.

Make a larger impact on the empowerment of the underprivileged girl child, we are reaching out to all Ex-Welhamites through this initiative. Our endeavour is to connect each Ex-Welhamite with the educational cost of one underprivileged girl child – ‘One for One’!
The annual cost of educating one girl child is currently Rs 21,000/-. This is inclusive of school fees, uniform, books, and transport. We are looking for a minimal commitment of 5 years. We urge you to come forward individually, as siblings, as friends or as a batch to ‘adopt’ the education of an underprivileged girl child. We urge you to read the attachment about the work being done by the Aasraa Trust in Dehra Dun. (https://thelogicalindian.com/exclusive/aasraa) This link – can it be an active link where you click, and the site opens?

The WGAA extends its support to ‘the covid warriors of the Aasraa trust' The Ex-Welhamite community around the globe raised Rs 1 Lakh to help the Aasraa Trust feed the families of the migrant labour community living in the slums of Dehra Dun.

As part of our WECARE INITIATIVE 2021 the following support has been provided by the WGAA:

  • Continued support for five of our Teachers through the We care initiative “Prannam”
  • Support for the education of fifty-six girls at the Assara Trust through the One for One initiative.
  • The Shikshaa Saarthi Scholarship was activated this year and we as an alum have undertaken the education of two of our bherajis daughters, the alumni have committed to complete their education till college.
    Km. Disha Kumari D/O Rakesh Kumar
    Km. Atisha Yadav D/O Dinesh Yadav
  • Our endeavor is to increase our capacity to include all the children of our support staff.
  • This year we as an Alumni were unable to return to our Alma Mater. The ravages of Covid have had far reaching consequences, many have suffered medically as well as work and businesses have been hit hard. Due to the financial restrictions imposed on Parents of current students, WGAA provided scholarships of Rs. Eight Lac fifty thousand to help families tide over this devastating time.

PREPARING FOR 2022 WITH HOPE

WGAA EVENTS for JAN 2022 TO Oct 2022

December 2021 – Lucknow city chapter event
January 2022- AGM and Collaborative Meet in Goa with DSOB
February – TAL Golf tournament followed by TAL executive committee Lunch
Investiture Ceremony Virtual in School
March-City Chapter Event APRIL- City Chapter event
MAY- New York City Chapter Event JUNE – City Chapter Event
JULY – City Chapter Event AUGUST - City Chapter Event
SEPT - MIDTERMS

The WGAA team for the year 2022.

Name 

Designation

Shivani Anand

President

Natasha Verma

Vice President

Devyani Vasudev Vohra
Propose to replace with
Namrata Chaudhry Kapur

Treasurer

Diya Walia

Secretary

Arshiya Takkar

Anjana Shastri

Member Communication

Natasha Sinha

Member We Care

Shruti Lakhanpal Tandon

Member We Care

Renee Chanda Chandola

Member Compliance

Hema Mehra

Disha Chopra

Member Liaison and Coordination 

Savleen Thadani

Member Memorabilia

Anjali Sapra 

Member Finance and
scholarship

To sum up our report we as an executive committee look forward to more participation from all of you in the coming years.

See you in 2022 in full strength at either your city chapters or at the mega founders in Dehradun in October.

 SHIVANI ANAND 

PRESIDENT WGAA

History of Welham

Our milestones, brick by brick, from then to now.

On a cold winter’s day in February 1957, 10 young girls assembled to start their boarding school experience at Welham Girls High School in Dehra Dun. This was how an incredible journey began, that would take our School from its humble beginnings to the incredible institution that it has become today.

Founded by Miss HS Oliphant, Founder-Principal of Welham Boys Preparatory School and our first Principal Miss Grace Mary Linnell, the School began to function from the residence and gardens of Nasreen, the iconic building at No 12 Circular Road, that every Welhamite, old and new, will always recognise and associate with as ‘School’. Another property at No 19, Municipal Road was taken for the Principal’s residence and School office. No 17, next to No 19, was taken later and housed the Junior School. Founders Day programmes were held in the back verandah of No 19 and the audience sat in the garden. Gradually, over the years, this small campus has grown and developed into today’s Welham Girls School, credited with being the best residential school for girls over the last few years. During Miss Linnell’s tenure classes were held in No 19 and a small barrack like building in No 12, which was then demolished, and the current double-storey classroom building went up in its place. While it was being built the BIs and AIIIs trudged back and forth from a rented house where their dorms were located. Next to the new classroom building was a long single-storey low set of rooms which had the playroom, the games master’s office, 2 tiny rooms for piano classes and the tuck room at the back, scene of many a raid. Along the back wall new dorms were built with rooms for the HMs. The Junior School remained in No 17. The tiny games field in front of the classroom building, which has now been cemented over, somehow managed to cope with many an enthusiastic hockey player and Welham girls were the backbone of the U.P. State Hockey Team. Baseball batters tried to hit the ball into the windows of the biology lab on the first floor and some even succeeded, much to the staff’s dismay. Chose a subject and somehow Miss Linnell, from the then small town of Dehra Dun, found someone to teach it, be it elocution, French, shorthand, typing or classical western music appreciation. The dining room, a low, single storey, long room also became an auditorium when a stage was built at one end.

Stepping into Miss Linnell’s shoes was Miss Saroj Srivastava, the English teacher, who took on the daunting task of taking the School out of the ‘red’ into a healthy financial status, which she succeeded in doing, supported by her Board of Governors, trusting donors and understanding parents. It was during her tenure as Principal that the first Alumni daughter joined School. Concentrating on getting School’s finances into a healthy condition was the highlight of Miss Srivastava’s term and she will always be remembered for this. During her term No 6 was taken for dorms. Some of the lovely fountains and garden area in No 12 gave way to Miss Linnell’s grave and the prayer platform, but the peacock throne and summerhouse remained. Land purchased by Miss Linnell, for which she came under fire from the Board for spending too much money, had lain unused, and Miss Srivastava finally attempted to use this for games when plans to consolidate a campus were made.

It was then up to Mrs Shanti Varma, a parent and former member of the Board of Governors, who took over from her, to begin the process of acquiring more land and developing buildings. It started with the School’s current auditorium, so aptly dedicated to and named after her in 2017. Her tenure began during troubled times and efforts to shift the School, from the Dalanwala campus to a larger area, had not succeeded. Land near Haridwar had been purchased but was considered unsafe from a security point of view and land on the Chakrata Road had issues with adequate water supplies. If we had shifted, a proposal to turn No 12 into a girls’ college had also been considered, as the idea of giving up our beloved Nasreen was unthinkable. The decision then was to remain in Dalanwala and try to buy properties around No 12, taking the dream of a consolidated campus forward. No 17 was sold and Narauli House purchased for dorms while the older ones were refurbished; the Home Science lab building came up on the tennis courts next to the original entrance and the playroom building and long jump pit gave way to another block with labs, the library and the art room. Sadly, the trees along No 12’s original grand avenue entrance, directly opposite No 6, had to be cut down because they were old and diseased. The entrance then changed to its current corner gate, donated by an alumnus.  A house towards the rear of the School was purchased for the Bursar and hospital, which later shifted across the road to another property. A corridor of land giving, easy access from No 12 to the Games field was bought as well as another property adjacent to the field for tennis courts and other sports facilities.

Mrs Jyotsna Brar, alumnus and then Principal of another school succeeded Mrs Varma. During her tenure the School changed quite dramatically. The grounds and buildings were spruced up. The interiors of Nasreen were restored to their former glory with fireplaces, woodwork and tiles being highlighted. Dorms were all shifted out to the other buildings. The building facings were changed to have the same appearance. The Principal’s Office was shifted to No 12. The old building in No 6 was demolished to make way for the swimming pool and the corner property next to it, opposite No 12, was purchased for a variety of activities. Alumni generously donated the current hospital and the old hospital turned into staff quarters. An office block came up in No 19 to accommodate office staff. More refurbishment and renovation were undertaken. Water harvesting began, the School got its own tube well water supply Donations from alumni helped in improvements to both building and facilities with each anniversary batch doing their bit to help, specially with an underground passage to link No 12 to the property across the road.

With the very recent change of Principal from Mrs Brar to Mrs Padmini Sambasivam comes more development. A shooting range has been added to sports facilities. The Tadpole tuck shop has been enlarged to make practice areas for Kathak and Bharat Natayam dancers during rainy days or for girls to just chill. The underground passage has been completed and leakage in dorms fixed. More floors are planned for staff quarters and music room and gym facilities are to be improved.

And so, from these humble beginnings to today, through years of trials and tribulations, shifting, adjusting and making do with what there is, from crowded dorms to captains’ rooms and ‘dungeon’ bathrooms to running hot water, through two wars and rationing, epidemics of chicken pox and measles, changes in exam systems and digitisation have come the most amazing alumni a School could ask for. From politics to public service; art and architecture to advertising and adventure travel; media and medicine have come athletes, doctors, dancers, yoga experts, filmmakers and documentary producers, actors and housewives, corporates and authors, poets and lawyers; carers of refugees, challenged children, the disabled and homeless animals; experts in international affairs and economists; distinguished eminent citizens, media personalities and famous artists. Scratch the surface of a profession or a field of interest and you’ll be sure to find a Welhamite, living up to the intrinsic values these courageous and far-sighted women have inculcated in us, nurturing and mentoring, while keeping in mind the prayer of our English Founder-Principal, Miss GM Linnell: “Make us chose the harder right instead of the easier wrong”; setting us our focus in no uncertain terms, while inspiring us to enlightened humanity with our motto Arth Shanti Phala Vidya

Welham Girls Alumni Association

It took 50 years and many sporadic attempts by many hardworking alumni over the years to actually get today’s formal Welham Girls Alumni Association registered. Like the history of a School that started with a few thousand rupees and 10 girls, the WGAA too started with a handful of committed ex students, who came together over the years in fits and starts to get things off the ground, encouraged by Mrs Shanti Verma, who in time would become Principal.

By 2005 it was becoming evident to all of us that it was essential to have the Welham Alumni Association become a formal body. Welham was fast heading into its Golden Jubilee year in 2007 and there was still no formal Alumni Association!

An informal meeting of what is the core group today, met at Mrs. Jyotsna Brar’s home over a cup of tea to discuss the 50th year of Welham and from that informal discussion emerged the serious process of putting into place today’s formal Welham Girls Alumni Association.

An Executive Committee was formed, comprising of members from 16 to 60 years of age! A memorandum of Articles was formulated, outlining the aims and objectives of the fraternity. It was registered and we were granted 80 G certification, which enables us to offer tax exemption to anyone contributing towards the School and Alumni projects through the WGAA.

The WGAA was formally set up in 2005. It was established not only with the usual objective of alumni societies, which is to bring together ex-students and promote interaction between them, but with the aspiration to support the School in various projects, provide succor to the larger Welham community of staff members and caregivers and give back to society through socially responsible initiatives.

It has since grown in strength under a committed and enterprising leadership with remarkable women at the helm. Asha Chaudhri who headed the Alumni before the formalization of the WGAA as a society, Sujata Kulshreshtha, the first President of the WGAA, Parbeen Kaur, Hema Mehra and Anjali Bansal Sapra have all, with vision and purpose, consolidated and strengthened the Association into the cohesive organization that it is today.

The Purpose of the WGAA

The Alumni body has in addition, contributed generously to School development projects as well. The effort has been coordinated by the WGAA and the funds successfully utilised for the Kitchen Upgrade, Library Renovations, an Ambulance, contributions to the new Hospital, the Swimming Pool and more recently a Mac Computer, Music room upgrade, new Toilets in the Games Field etc.

In addition WeCare was started in 2007 with the launch of the Coffee Table Book I HAVE WINGS, the sole purpose of which was to raise funds to help those in need, support retired teachers and class IV staff as required, as well as to put together the History of the School in its full recorded form.

We are currently supporting 40 girls at Aasaraa Trust Dehradun from January 2018 through the One for One initiative of WeCare.

We hope to keep the spirit of Service to the School and to those who helped us continue to soar!

WGAA Achievements

Swimming Pool
Swimming Pool

  

Kitchen Upgrade
Kitchen Upgrade

  

Contribution to New Hospital
Contribution to New Hospital

  

Miss Linnell's Bust
Miss Linnell's Bust

   

Library Renovation
Library Renovation

  

School Ambulance
School Ambulance

  

The WGAA Committee 2019-2024

President

Shivani Narain Anand
1992

Vice President

Natasha Kumar Verma
1993

Treasurer

Devyani Vasudev Vohra
1998

Secretary

Diya Walia
1990

Communications

Arshiya Takkar
2009

WeCare

Shruti Lakhanpal Tandon
1983

Legal & Guidance

Renee Sen Chandola
1965

Memorabilia

Anjali Bansal Sapra
1986

Memorabilia

Parbeen Kaur
1989

Networking

Hema Mehra
1971

Past Committees

First Committee

President: Asha Khanna Chaudhri – 1962

Vice President: Arti Bharat Singh Walia – 1963

Secretary: Renee Sen Chandola – 1965

Treasurer:  Anita Puri Vij – 1961

Members

Deepak Gurbax Singh Chopra - 1962

Mridula Kumari Singh - 1965

Radhika Puri – 1966

Ratnamala Kohli Kapur – 1981

2005-2009

President: Sujata Verma Kulshreshtha - 1979

Vice President: Navpreet Sukarchakia Atwal - 1981

Treasurer: Sarita Bhandari Nangia - 1979

Members

Arti Bharat Singh Walia - 1963

Seeta Lall Natrajan - 1970

Manju Tomar Singh Bawa - 1976

Kalindi Kumar Harnal - 1980

Parbeen Kaur - 1988

Ritu Sapra Sikand - 1985

Jaiinder Kaur - 1985

Sabina Thakran Sharma - 1985

Harsimran Kaur - 2005

2009-2011

President: Parbeen Kaur -1988

Vice President: Jaiinder Kaur - 1985

Networking: Ritu Sapra Sikand - 1985

Treasurer: Sarita Bhandari Nangia - 1979

WeCare: Sujata Kulshreshtha - 1979

Members

Geeta Johar Nanda - 1964

Renee Sen Chandola - 1965

Seeta Lall Natrajan - 1970

Hema Badhwar Mehra - 1971

Rashmini Puri - 1972

Jyotsana Dev Dutt - 1973

Rubina Rangar - 1983

Madhvi Khandelwal - 1985

Mandira Mathur - 1986

Devyani Vasudev - 1998

Disha Chopra - 2000

Harsimran Kaur - 2005

Harleen Kaur - 2007

Mallika Johar - 2008

2011-2015

President: Hema Badhwar Mehra - 1971

Vice President: Anjali Bansal Sapra - 1985

Secretary: Shivani Narain Anand - 1992

Treasurer: Renee Sen Chandola - 1965 

Memorabilia: Parbeen Kaur - 1988

Events: Sabina Thakran Sharma - 1985

Communications: Manvi Sinha Dhillon - 1992

WeCare: Sujata Kulshreshtha - 1979

Want to volunteer and help the WGAA?

MAIL US AT welhamgirlsalumniregistry@gmail.com
Interested in helping out?