All Talk and No Action Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Last weekend saw some fruitful activity by this lazy bone.

My company had its India Wide Volunteering Day on Saturday – April 26.

I had been looking forward to this day since the activities involved were pretty interesting. Painting with Akanksha Kids, Gardening and Planting Saplings, building houses at Karjat, Health & Hygiene seminars by Pratham…myriad activities..loads of excitement.

A few friends and I registered for painting and gardening activity at Anand Niketan (Mahalaxmi). The premise houses various NGOs, Cancer Aid Society, Institution for the mentally challenged, etc.

My friend Mahalakshmy and I vouched for gardening whereas Prabhdeep and Sonal opted for painting with kids.

Pheww…What a day and what fun!!

We were segregated into small groups and were asked to plant saplings and level barren gardens. It was sweltering hot and the job required physical strength too.

However, the whole activity saw vigorous participation. Animated conversations took place. New friendships were forged. It was nice to see people from various backgrounds come together…spend a weekend toiling away in the heat.

While, Mahalakshmy and I sweated it out, Sonal and Prabhdeep had huge fun painting walls for Akanksha’s center. The center was adorned by various colorful images – Mickey Mouse, Dolphins, Little girls with Pony Tails, etc. Some people took on the look of Picasso and worked as if a masterpiece was coming into shape while a few others chatted along and had a jolly good time painting lovely flowers.

We were assisted by kids from Akanksha. A very sweet batch! Most of these belonged to lower income groups. However, they were tutored by Aakanksha and some had gone on to become Arts and Maths teachers at Akanksha.

This brings me to an important observation – difference between government managed orphanages and NGOs.

Most of my trips to government managed orphanages have made me feel sad and helpless. Most kids lose their innocence when they start “understanding” the enormity of their situation. Being abandoned is bad enough – living off on donations and pity is worse!

These kids are treated as burden and often hold grudges against everyone in general. Moreover, they are hardly equipped with skills which would enable them to lead respectful lives and be economically independent.

On the other hand, organizations like Pratham and Akanksha help in “mentoring” kids. Most kids we interacted with were confident individuals, shy yet assertive. They were fluent in English and were proud of the fact that they were self sufficient.

Children from marginalized backgrounds do NOT need pity but need to be nurtured. They do not require donations rather opportunities. They have as much right to self respect as any of us.

Organisations like Pratham and Akanksha are doing a wonderful job in Child Literacy and education.

Their’s is a tedious and thankless job. However, their “Baby Steps” shall go a long way in helping “Youngistaan” grow into a confident nation.

Let us all extend our support to such organizations for helping the “Marginalised” India to Shine.


sethdremz said...

Hey Muktaeee...seriously wasnt it fun 2 be der & be involved..

u know d reason i alwaz love such voluntreeing activities specially when children are involved..coz i feel a part of them..d thngs that i've gone through jst compells me to get a smile on der faces...pray they turn out to be smthng,make a name 4 der self in d society...Havng no parents,havng no 1 to love u or havng no social support is d wrst feeling tht can kill a persons initiative or a spark widn him, such NGO's enable to keep d sparks alive..although the steps may be minute considering the amount of activities that they have to do, bt are commendable..we need such more organisations/NGO's to take up d cause...In our society there is ths beautiful thng tht people are help ful...i've known people who work 4 a cause but never u will find there name appearing aniwhere..its just in line wid the eastern philosophy of not letting ur right hand know wat ur left is doing..
Its my dream to do smthng in this space pray the time comes & m on to it!!!!

Tc and dude it was fun to wrk d way ur painting of d sun was incomplete!!! hehehehe

All Talk and No Action said...

@Sethdremz -

I agree that these kids are too good. The self confidence they showed and the sense of self worth they had was palpable.

As far as my painting of the sun is concerned - It shall be counted in "Modern ART" ;-)