By Akshat Tyagi:
How do most people begin their new year? Party, eat out, movie or maybe a trip. And especially what if you are a kid, then how do you celebrate?
Last Sunday, we, a group of teenagers along with our teachers, tried to do something unique to celebrate the new year. It started with the simple thought of spreading joy and happiness. Soon, it took the shape of an event and we named it, ‘Sapney: Celebrations Of Our Shared Dreams’. People, organisations and groups joined the bandwagon and helped us turn our dreams into reality. On 3rd January, at a school with a big heart in Ghaziabad, Bhagirath Campus, Sanjay Nagar, we proudly hosted 60+ kids from very weak socio-economic backgrounds and ones with physical and mental disabilities. Over 5 NGOs and groups participated, more than 120 people attended.
Mind you, this wasn’t a charity event, it wasn’t meant to be. It was a community event that challenged the ‘practice’ of excluding the underprivileged from the mainstream community. We based it on ‘gift culture’, asking people to share their gifts with the community, which included skills, art, ideas, clothes, snacks or just anything that they felt could help others. We were able to collect over 200 cloth pieces and over 500 snack packets for the kids. Over five sessions, ranging from origami to theatre, were hosted by wonderful people, all free of cost.
There were some sweet moments that I won’t be able to forget, such as this one shared by two volunteers, Tanveer and Tanmay. “We were playing a small game asking kids to guess a song that two people from our group were playing. One kid attempted to answer, and oops, he got it wrong. He began singing that song anyway, despite us telling him that he should guess again. In a few minutes, all of us had joined him in singing the song of his choice!” Our little guests then became so comfortable that they even requested us to sing a song from ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’! We all danced, sang, watched, ate as a community. Such was the beauty of the event.
We realised that it is very easy when you decide to spread love. The world is full of good people wishing to join you. And so, not a single penny was charged from anybody nor was given to anybody. Not one printed banner was used, not one balloon was blown. Rather we decorated the venue for the kids with kites having beautiful messages on ‘Dekh Dost’ themes, which were then gifted to the kids at the end of the programme. One of the kites read, “Dekh Dost, life has no remote control, get up and change!”
A team from ABES Engineering College, Samvaad Theatre, presented a beautiful satire play. Though the kids didn’t understand most of it, sitting in an auditorium for the first time and getting to know what a play really is, pleased them a lot. Volunteers hosted community dances and games where there were no winners and losers, there was only enjoyment. People volunteered to give over six musical performances for the kids. We were joined by a team of great people from NGO Help Us Help The Child, who are doing tremendous work for the children. Ms. Indu Varshney of Bharat Vikas Parishad also taught kids several things. We even connected the kids to Hyderabad, to one of our friend Ashtami for an e-storytelling session. She happened to be our teacher once, and now a best friend for many of us.
Soon after the event, we were flooded with tags and lovely photographs, all stating, “The day couldn’t have been any better!” And it’s not just about us doing it all alone. We would say we are very lucky to have teachers who decide to work beyond their fixed job profile. Every kid needs champions like them.
We hope this inspires you to do good in your own capacities.
Keep helping. Keep smiling!