Written By Soma Seal
It was sometime in July 2015 that Sakshi called me and asked me whether I would be interested in doing Annadan on Guru Purnima and also coordinate activities for Ammucare in Kolkata. For me it was a God sent opportunity as I always had an inclination for doing service. I very willingly agreed as I had been doing some activities on my own on and off, but never had the courage to do anything big due to financial reasons. Sakshi assured me that Ammucare would completely support me with this initiative. I was a little apprehensive as I had to organize everything on my own from identifying the place to arranging the food but it all happened so effortlessly that I knew it was all Master’s grace at work.
Our very first activity was annadaan at Sukanya, an orphanage for abandoned girls. It houses about 100 girls in the age group of 5 to 15. On the day of the event, I was really excited and at the same time a little nervous too! This being the very first activity, I sent out a sincere prayer to my Guru for guidance as handling 105 children wouldn’t be easy. When we reached there, the younger ones welcomed us with smiles on their faces but the older children seemed a little rude and angry. We understood that their childhoods had not been easy, given most of them had had violent childhoods and had finally been abandoned or sold for money. We were patient with them.
In the beginning it was even difficult to get those 100 children to form a queue for distribution but some angels among them came forward and three of us (Madhuri, Tanushree and myself) along with our driver managed the job well. The children loved the puri, potato sabji, chole and jalebi. It was heart wrenching to see so many small children in that orphanage, knowing that we could do so little for them. Nevertheless we left the place feeling grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them.
Celebrating Rakhi with a twist!
Our next activity was in August to celebrate Raksha Bandhan at the same orphanage. We wanted to buy gifts for the girl child. Since there were 105 children, we decided to explore the wholesale market to get a good bargain. The younger ones were gifted with colourful hair bands and hair clips and the slightly grown up among them were given hair clutches and bangles. We also bought colorful rakhis for them. When we went there, the children were really excited to see us!
We spent a blissful evening with them distributing gifts and tying rakhis for them. The children seemed so happy as they enthusiastically tied rakhis for us too. We then distributed snacks (samosas and sweets) .We left the place feeling ever so grateful.
After these two activities I felt more confident about handling kids so when when we took up a project to distribute stationery to poor children, we decided to explore another place! This time we chose Sidharth United Welfare Mission, an orphanage which houses about 75 boys in the age group of 5-15.We distributed notebooks, pencil, erasers, sharpeners and pens along with biscuit packets to these kids. These children were very disciplined!
I have seen that every time I perform an activity like this I feel so expanded. I want to thank Ammucare for giving me an opportunity to learn that there is true joy in giving!