This Diwali, We Khushiyan Team have celebrated pre-Diwali festivities with around 100 children of Ummed Aman ghar, Opp to Qutub Minar, New Delhi on 7th November 2015. Our motive was to spend few hours of joy, delight and learning with underprivileged children and thus bring the festivities of Diwali to them.
As it is said that most beautiful things in life can’t be bought, this saying was evident while we were spending our time with the children of Ummeed Aman Ghar yesterday. The happiness and smiles of the children were not because of the things we brought for them but because they were living their day doing wonderful things which they liked, with some very friendly, caring and jolly people who so selflessly went there just to make them feel special.
The detailed plan of the day was to have an icebreaking session first then move on to an origami session by Team from Adhiyapika Initiate, VAG Institue, which was to be followed by Rangoli making, balloons blowing, refreshments break, gift distribution and finally Diya lighting.
Below is my first hand experience of this event.
May be Inhibited by the pre-event instruction of warden and mild threats of punishments, group of children was coming out of the classroom. Some orderly and some randomly following the queue came out and settled on the mat laid outside on the lawn. It was the same lawn, same compound and may be same exercise for them; nothing seemed much different except few new faces who have brought some useless stuff.
For ice breaking session, two of our volunteers, came up with an idea to get children play the game of Chinese whisper. Not to waste any precious moment, they with an intention to start ice-breaking session went between children. Although volunteers are tremendously good at making children comfortable but Children didn’t know this fact and were not very extrovert mode obviously, for them we were just bunch of strangers. There was this brief moment of hesitation which could not survive longer thanks to friendly gesture & lively presentation of our volunteers. Children’s inhibition melted the very moment when one of the volunteer bent down and shook hand with them. It was so easy to connect with them (although it was nearly impossible to control them). We lured them to get their obedience by offering chocolates and it worked so well. Such temporary incentive may have drawn their attention to us initially but it didn’t keep them engaged for a long. What kept those children engaged was more than any gift, it was their hope to spend one day differently by being engrossed in some creative and joyful activities. The temptation of living this present day between some strangers who didn’t seems like stranger after just once interaction.
Such was concluded our icebreaking session which children enjoyed well. There were few who got up to summarize the learning by this game. It was the perfectly imperfect and amazing start of the day.
Then team around 25 volunteers from Adhyapika, VAG teachers training institute, began to conduct their origami session. They divided their team into subgroups who taught children to make some very beautiful origami products such as pen holder and candles from colorful papers. Children were ecstatic to engage in such a creative activity. Volunteers could hardly manage the excitement of children and it was one of the best activities of the day. After Origami session, we began Rangoli making and balloon blowing activity. This turned out to be the most chaotic activity. Naughty children were out of control because excitement after getting balloons. This was the most difficult time of the day, we resorted to music and dance to lure children into jovial yet obedient mood but it proved ineffective. Finally we had to call local staff to manage the situation. Children blew balloons in no time and our volunteers could not cope up with balloon tying process. Few children got busy with our volunteer Ashish who made wonderful Rangoli.
After an hour of tiring and exhausting period of balloon and Rangoli session, we distributed gifts to Ummeed staff. Thankfully Children sat quietly for this activity except round of applause and cheering. Whenever any staff came to receive gifts, children clapped and cheered loudly for them. We nearly came to know which staff member was their favorite, just by the sheer intensity of their cheering and screaming. This activity was followed by the break for refreshments.
The concluding part of the day was diya lighting activity. By this time it was dark and most of the children who might have got tired or were not interested in diya lighting went back to their rooms. Still we were left with some 30-40 children who were actually interested to light diyas and arrange them in their compound. It was the most serene phase of the day. Some of the children were very patient and careful in lighting diyas. Our volunteers didn’t find it difficult to manage them here. We were all surprised to see their sense of judgment to choose place to put diyas. It was splendid view to see how beautifully they made the whole compound glittering with selective placement of diyas. We were finding it hard to leave the premise which was luminous with joy, light and satisfaction of the meaningful day. It was the real Diwali for us and those children. We will celebrate Diwali at home with our family member and it holds importance to us but the satisfaction, joy and emotions we felt there will be always special for us.
I thank Children and Ummed Aman Ghar for giving us this opportunity. I specially thank Bindiya Ji and her team for making this event successful. I thank Ashish, Neha, Mahek, Kajal, Shweta, Shamiksha, Rajat, Divakar, Ritika Ji & every volunteer for spreading Khushiyan and making this day memorable. Finally I thank Rohit for all his efforts, initiative and planning.
Experience written by Tanvir ( Event Co-Organizer and Volunteer)