Republic Day Celebrations
Love & Greetings from everyone at Sunshine Homes!
This is Ravinder again, bringing you the stories of hope and resilience from the Sunshine Homes.
So friends, as we all would agree, 2020 has been the year that has challenged us all in one way or the other. For us, at Sunshine Homes, the year has been extra ordinarily different. It has been the year of despair, misery, uncertainty and sorrows. It has also been the year of improvisation and adaptation. Despite the hardships faced, none of us ever thought of giving up. It now feels amazing to reflect upon the wonderful moments and memories of how bravely we stood together. How we have supported each other like a family and how we have coped, adapted and stayed tough in these tough times. The carers worked rigorously day and night in keeping the children safe, the children too were equally supportive during the lockdown. The mentors remained connected to the children in whatever way possible and, the social workers and counselors ensured positive mental wellbeing of the children and carers. Playing our part, we helped one another to sail through these pressing times and remained common among us was our commitment and the resilience.
Let me share a story of one of our team members, Dinesh, with you. His passion, commitment and resilience has been an inspiration for everyone working at Sunshine Homes.
Not all superheroes wear capes!
As the unlock progressed in phases, everyone gradually started adapting to the new normal and we continued to be happy for keeping more than 250 children and youth safe and healthy across our 17 Sunshine Homes, Udayan Ghars and 2 Aftercare facilities. Followed soon, there was an unprecedented crisis situation at 2 of our Sunshine Homes. It was sad and worrying that 3 of our residential carers and 1 non-residential staff were tested positive for COVID-19 even after following all the precautionary and safety measures, and were shifted to a quarantine centre.
Complete halt on the in and out movement, anxiety among the children and the staff, difficulty in assessing the situation and regular monitoring resulted in ever growing nervousness and sleepless nights. The crisis could have been nearly impossible to deal with unless responsible and committed team members like Dinesh would not have taken a charge and stepped forward.
When people across the nation preferred to stay back safe at their homes with their loving families, Dinesh, House father cum store keeper/ supervisor, a non-residential staff decided to stand alongside with his Udayan Ghar family in crisis.
Dinesh rode daily 10 Km on a bike from his home to the Sunshine Home making sure that the children and the residential carers living inside the Ghar do not face any problems and the much needed help and support can be provided as and when required.
Since the in and out movement was completely suspended keeping in mind the health concerns and obligation to the government orders, Dinesh everyday operated from his new workstation, his bike, parked right outside the Home premises. Maintaining daily registers, getting updates, arranging for the essentials, handling the required coordination between the home and the concerned government bodies, academic institutions and senior programme officials at the head office etc. was all being duly taken care of by Baloni. His presence during that time had also given immense moral support to the staff and the children living in the homes.
The compassion, hardwork, sincerity and commitment shown by Dinesh is highly appreciated and applauded. He is truly an inspiration and our supercarer.
There have been innumerable stories at Sunshine Homes that kept us buoyant during the pressing times and eventually helped sailing through the same.
I would also love to take you through some of the activities and events where the children and the carers were engaged during the period.
Observing World Mental Health Day (10th October 2020):
With the ongoing Pandemic, our lives have witnessed observable change while bringing with it not only the risk of the infection but also a fearful living. With more of isolation living and the increased chance of increase of mental health concerns, children across Udayan Ghars were taken through sessions as well as a range of activities that not only became a medium of expression of feelings and emotions, but also extend psycho-social support to each other increasing the investment in mental health. Moreover, in collaboration with CFSI Films, the children across all the Udayan Ghars watched the movie ‘Halo’ which highlights the need for company to overcome loneliness and efforts one takes to lead a positive life despite odds.
Joy of Giving Week:
Giving has been one of the core values that children are inculcated with over the years. Despite the pandemic situation, this year also, children at some of the Sunshine Homes went on to express gratitude to the staff at the Homes who have worked selflessly during these difficult times going on to even donating masks and raw food material to people in need.
Children’s Day & Diwali Celebration:
The pandemic situation, now popularly referred to as ‘The New Normal’ has taught us new and innovative ways to do things. This New Normal has presented us with possibilities to reach new heights and make our mark. With beginning of the festive season wherein, the festivals too were seen celebrated with the taste of new normal, the children, carers and mentor parents brought in their own creative ways of celebrating Diwali. The members at each of the 17 Sunshine Homes, lighted hope and gifted laughter as this year also saw the festival of lights falling on the same day as Children’s day.
Conducted as a fun surprise event, the rib tickling act put together by Clownselors via online session, seemed to be the perfect gift for children during these pressing times.
Followed by the fun surprise event was the Inter Rangoli Competition which invoked creativity in not only children but all the members of the Home family including children, carers, mentor parents and social worker. Keeping up the festive spirits high, each team participated enthusiastically in the competition.
True they say, the best gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family.
Submerged in sheer joy, the entire Udayan Ghar family celebrated Christmas with much enthusiasm and love. From decorating the Christmas tree to singing carols, from exchanging gifts to enjoying a relishing meal, the children, staff and mentor parents across the 17 Sunshine Homes left no stone unturned in making this Christmas of the New Normal times a special one. Where some corporates, became Santa who sent gifts and smiles to the children, another corporate studded the celebration with fun and excitement through an online musical concert by Aditya, a renowned singer. Indeed, it was the one special Christmas this time and the right way to say goodbye to the passing year.
Republic Day Celebration (26th January 2021):
Inculcating the patriotic spirit in the young chiildren, Republic Day was celebrated across all the Homes. Each Home celebrated the glorious day with its own taste where, some sang patriotic songs, participated in quiz, others hoisted flag, made presentation on revolutionaries and shared their stories.
A token of love, a token of gratitude and a win over difficult times:
The year 2020 has been tough for all of us and it has extraordinarily impacted the children all across the world. From shutdown of academic institutions to restrictions in movement, from loss in academics to limited opportunities of recreation, the children have been among the worst sufferers of this pandemic crisis and the children at Sunshine Homes were no exception to this. The experience, initially being overwhelming for the children has today turned into an opportunity for enhancing skills, developing relationships, inculcating empathy and above all the motivation to sail through these difficult times. At the Sunshine Homes, it is this zeal of children that motivated us as caregivers to stay buoyant, confident and optimistic about the present to the future.
Recognizing this patience and resilience of the children at Sunshine Homes, one of our dearest Trustees, presented 250 + children and youth across 17 Sunshine Homes with a hand-knitted woolen muffler made with love and warmth by herself and her family and friends.
This is all I had to share with you. I thank GlobalGiving and the associated donors for their sustained support which has enabled us to continue to work towards the cause of the children.
With this, I wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year 2021. May we all stay blessed and connected.
Christmas celebrations at the home
Kids celebrating Diwali
Girls showing their Rangoli