“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
The School of Humanities and Social Science at G D Goenka University has always strived to inculcate a spirit of compassion and higher values amongst its students. Learning is not all about the written word or taking exams. There is a lot of learning in sharing, caring and spending time with others. Today the whole world is jostling with a deficit of empathy and understanding. In our self-indulgent existences, there is little time for understanding people from other backgrounds. Thus it has become all the more important to let our future generations know that warmth and humanity are qualities they need to chisel and hone consciously.
To know the pain of the lesser privileged, to understand the challenges of weaker sections of society and to share joy and happiness with a feeling of selflessness today is highly desirable.
Keeping these ideals in mind, Dr. Kakoli Sen, Associate Dean, SOHSS and Prof. Sakshi Kaul conceptualised a visit for our students to Archbishop Alan de Lastic Memorial Children’s Home. All the students of MA and BA accompanied by the faculty including Prof Divya Padalia and Prof Shivani Mohan, visited the place on 30th September 2014, armed with some smiles, token gifts and a lot of love and empathy in their hearts.
The students had prepared personalised gift envelopes for the children in advance, illustrating them in bright colours with some goodies inside. The entire team was enthusiastic and excited about this visit.
They arrived at the orphanage in the afternoon and started with introductions. After a few shy overtures and introductions, the two groups opened up, dividing themselves into an outdoor group and an indoor group.
The sporty kinds went out in the lawns and played football and indulged in other athletic activities. The indoors group got into a drawing and painting activity. It was heartening to see our college students reach out and engage the young children with buoyance and energy.
The children’s faces lit up with all the attention and affection they were getting. Their artistic sides showcased and appreciated and their sporty skills revved up, the children spent an hour of bonhomie and cheer with SOHSS students and faculty.
What was even more encouraging was that even our students took on new avataars. While Ayushi and Nandita sat and got the collage done with great patience, Vishakha was the livewire, interacting with kids with gusto. Hugo Bourdes, who hails from Cape Verde and is in the process of settling down in India himself, was such a natural, with little boys climbing on top of his shoulders and refusing to come off! Sahil and Nikhil took care of the brats, with some handy experience of their own.
Aman and Arvika from Masters course were sensitivity personified while Shweta and Vrinda provided just the right word of encouragement to the little kids creative pursuits.
Speaking of the visit Nandita Chaudhary, a First Year, BA Psychology (Honours) student says, It was a wonderful experience, going there made me closer to the sensitivity of society. The children there were well treated and taken care of. They are being given good education, which was evident in their behaviour and conduct. The visit taught me a lot of things .
Ichha Bhan, another First year BA student said, It was nice to know, for every ten children there is one lady who takes care of them, cooking for them and feeding them. The activity where the children painted their hands and made a collage for us was fun. It was very satisfying to visit them and see how their life has turned out. They wished us with so much respect. They are adorable children and I would love to go again to interact with them.
Keerat Aujla goes a little emotional as she reminisces, The Children gave us such a warm welcome with innocence on their faces. I think our presence made them happy. I feel the ladies who are looking after the children have trained them well. The love that they require, the knowledge, everything is being provided to them. The little boy Mangal, who was the youngest there, was bewildered, looking at us. His cute expression cannot be forgotten!
Anjali Menon, FYBA, says,What was really touching to see was that they enjoyed our company so much as they rarely get to meet people our age. It’s a great initiative and it should keep functioning.
It was an afternoon of learning and sharing. Everyone was a little wisened and poignant as they walked out, saying goodbye to the fantastic kids and staff of the Children’s Home. The goodbyes lingered much after the students had boarded their bus. Some were philosophical, some simply savouring the sense of contentment quietly. Many wanted to come back regularly to add some value to the lives of the children.
Blog Writer: Ms. Shivani Mohan