My Volunteering Experience With Kids In Jasola Showed Me How Easily We Overlook Happiness

Posted by Nitya Garg in #TheInvisibles
August 6, 2017
STC logoEditor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour. Add a post today!

A child’s hand wraps around my index finger every time I walk into the community centre of Bucket List in Jasola. Touch is a very important aspect of comfort – and their hands wrapped around just a finger of mine gives them a feeling of ease and security. This is all it takes to bring a smile to their faces!

Along the way, these kids reflected the happiness that we seek – but mostly ‘over-see’, in our lives.

The painted wall

As part of my volunteering experience at Bucket List, our team of volunteers was asked to paint a wall at the centre. Here, I had a flashback, where I found myself spilling paints on tables, hands dripping with multiple colours – only to end up drawing a sun rising from behind the mountains and a boy playing by his one-window house as the river flowed by.

Snapping out of it, I saw this as an opportunity to bring something to the kids that reminds them of who they are. A major problem they face is that of identity, mainly because of society. Being treated as nothing from the time they were born – they fail to see themselves as humans with value.

After much thought and with the help of two other volunteers, I painted huge flowers, connected to the same stem. The idea was to portray that they all have their own identities, even though they share the same root.

During my time at centre, I was given the freedom to interact with the kids in any manner I wished to. So in my second week, I decided to do something that would be knowledgeable yet fun.

I carried origami sheets and while handing them out, I explained to all of them what we would do. Their eyes twinkled as soon as they heard that we were going to make paper planes.

The kids with their planes

Over the next hour, I told them how to make every single fold – while demonstrating it again and again. They helped each other out if anybody was unable to understand how to proceed. As soon as I was done, I saw them ready to take the leap and let their new toys fly. But there was still something I wanted to tell them.

I began: “We all start life in the same manner – as a paper. As and when the time comes, we start to make certain folds which take us closer and closer to our destination. We may need a helping hand every once in a while – but our destiny is truly ours to make. If we get the folds right, our planes fly fiercely, cutting through all the wind. Similarly, making conscious folds in life drives us to the beacon of success. Once there, no one can stop us from flying and conquering the world…”

“Then, I am the King of the World because there goes my plane!” shouted Vishal, as he let his plane fly before I could even complete my sentence.

I couldn’t help myself from laughing. And most certainly, I could no longer contain the excitement of these children. “Off you go!” I said – and all of them rose at once, surrounding me with innocent cheers of joy. That day, I experienced what true happiness was!

It is in these little things of life that you can convey valuable lessons to these children. All it takes is to forget how old one is, and become one of them!

The most difficult things can be taught if you associate them with a visual act. So demonstrate, demonstrate the life skills you want them to imbibe. Make a story of it and tell it to them. You will be amazed to see how these children regard stories and how quickly they grasp what they see!

Along the lines of this very thought, I wrote a little poem:

Khwaabon mein rang bhardo,

Undekhe ki zindagi mein lihaaz bhardo.


Aaftab ki pehli qiran se seher mein umeed bhardo,

Har bechaini mein sukoon ke kuch pal bhardo.


Palke neeche karke mudhna mat inn bachhon se,

Kahaaniyon mein updesh sametkar inki zindagi mein umang bhardo.

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