During the last few events of Upasana Society NGO we the volunteers, realised many things. This is just a brief summary of our experiences.
- Visit to a tribal school in Medha village near Wajreshwari temple
We reached the tribal School at 8:00 am in a bus before the kids reached school. The school is toward the interior of the village and we didn’t realise how far the school was since we were not walking. It was only when we spoke to the teachers of the school that we came to know that many of them travel by train, change 2 buses and then walk 4 kms more to reach school. Most of the kids walk a minimum of 3 kms and a maximum of 8 kms. Inspite of this, their enthusiasm and will to learn just amazed us.
No one complained or even talked about this as an inconvenience. While at the school, we realised that the surroundings were very clean and we could feel the fresh air going to our lungs. Staying in Mumbai and finding fresh air is impossible.
The daily routine followed by the kids keeps them active and coupled with clean air and home food, everyone is in relatively good health. Most food comes directly from local farms. There is hardly any adulteration.
Majority of the parents are either farmers or work on farms or as labourers in companies nearby. Many of the kids can’t afford to have 2 sets of uniform. Whatever they have is worn out. Most do not have a pair of canvas shoes so they wear chappals which are larger than their feet. Infact, that pair of slippers gets used by multiple members of the family. Yet, when asked, they would reply that they are very comfortable and their feet are saved them from the gravel and stones to and fro.
School bags, water bottles and tiffin boxes are a dream to most of them. They carry most things in a plastic or a cloth bag made out of old clothes. They don’t have any priced possessions yet they are very happy to come to school and learn so that they can have a better future for themselves and their families. None of us could see a dull face. Ready smiles and infectious greeting taught us much.
Doesn’t look like we went to teach them anything, instead, they taught us how to find joy in small things and be content, no matter what.
2. Visit to an old age home in Mahalaxmi
During our last visit to old age home the atmosphere was quite the opposite to that of the tribal school that we had visited.
On arrival, we saw most of the inmates lying on their beds in silence. Each one lost in their own world and killing time reminiscing and thinking of their families. No one had anything productive or positive to do.
When we started spending time with them we realized that each one had a lil’ child inside…..hidden but ready to spring to life. Each one of them came from different walks of life and had a variety stories lived and to be told. At the home they were content with the peaceful and quite life that they were living.
Now that we have started visiting them regularly, they have started to open up to us about what they like if given a choice. We’ve had music, games, snacks, celebrations and much more.
It is not old age that kills, but loneliness. Many of them say,” We are old and no one wants to spend time with us. We are waiting for death to arrive.” We realized that they too have the right to enjoy life too and this mind set has changed ever since volunteers started visiting them. They were not looking for any money or expensive gifts but someone to bring a smile to their faces. The volunteers are now their family…bound by ties of love.
3. Jogeshwari railway station beautification under the ‘Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan Initiative’.
Our latest initiative was the 10 day beautification of the Jogeshwari railway station. We came across many people from various fields who volunteered in spite of their busy schedules for this amazing social cause.
Some people offered us snacks and tea while some people patted us on our back for the good work done. We even made friends with the dogs at the station who would guard us during the wee hours of the morning. We were able to treat a maggot infested dog as well. We painted for the city, for its people and for the causes close to our heart.
From these recent 3 initiatives we realised:
- People can be happy even without pots of money.
- People do care for one another and come forward to help those in distress
- Like minded people together as a group can impact society in a big way.
- Social causes also connect people. The interaction is conducive to strong bonds of friendship for life
This Diwali you can also do your bit by spreading happiness and smiles. Gift Us
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