November 2, 2010

Bringing smiles - Project Care

   My opinion about children in general has never been too favourable. I always thought they were a little evil. For instance, when they sit next to you in the train, they could punch themselves in the eye and start wailing so that everyone around thinks that you did it. However this opinion of mine turned less severe after I volunteered for Project Care organised by the SSL in my FYJC, four years ago. Ever since, I have always looked forward to it.

    Project Care is one of SSL’s prime projects in which children from an NGO(s) come and spend time with college students for two days, doing various activities. Prior to the event visits are undertaken by the volunteers to the centre where the children go to school, or live. Each child (generally between 6-10 years of age) is paired with one adoption volunteer who is a college student. The children spend the next two days with their Bhaiya or Didi participating in games, workshops and random jam sessions. And take my word for it when I say it’s one crazy, super-duper, funky monkey, loop-de-loop, fun- filled experience!

   There is usually a session at the BPT gardens where there are many games like sack races, tug-of-war, and throw-the-water- sponge-at-Jason. The mela which takes place in the Woods even had a jumping jack for the kids one year. There are trips to interesting places like the Nehru Science Centre, Planetarium, Traffic Park etc. We have workshops, skits, magic shows, dance performances and a lot of great (free) food!

   The best part about Project Care is the interaction with the children. Their innocent questions and gestures often remind us of how simple the world can actually be. A child-like light returns to everyone’s eyes. At the same time everyone gets a sense of responsibility towards their children. By the end of two days, adoption volunteers start referring to their randomly assigned child as ‘my kid’ and become concerned about whether their child has gone to the loo, wants more water or food and try to grab an extra samosa for their child. More than anything, we realize how privileged we are to have so much in our life and become thankful for it.

    In one of the years, one of the volunteers ran all the way till VT station chasing the bus which was taking the kids home. That is the kind of bond we form with the kids and so we even go for pre-visits (before PC) and post- visits (after PC) to the NGO. Project Care is one amazing experience and I suggest you all do it for putting a smile on so many faces apart from your own.                                                                                                                                                                      
R Parvathi. (TYBA)

Exec Comm note: Abhay, the ex-SSLite mentioned in the last paragraph took it upon himself to make this a tradition that he practised until he passed out. He tries to come back for Project Care every year. We miss you Abhay.

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