Love and Greetings from Sunshine Homes!
I am Pranali*. I am 16 years old and staying at one of the Sunshine Homes run by Udayan Care in Mehrauli, Delhi. I am elated to get this opportunity to connect with you and share about the activities that I and other children have been a part of during this reporting period. But before I share the fun activities and some of the hardships that we faced in the last couple of months, I’d really like to share a brief about myself. Am I a movie star? Am I some renowned sport personality? Am I some celebrity? No, I am not any of these. However, knowing that there are a number of children out there who are devoid of opportunities, basic necessities, and even a family, I feel that it is important that I share my story with people through this platform so that such children can be helped.
Well! I came to Udayan Care as a 6-year-old little girl along with my elder brother. It happened after the demise of our father and the mother leaving us alone with our ageing maternal grandmother. Our grandmother could not continue to look after us for long due to her old age and the endemic poverty. Like any other child, I too was affected by my past experiences, became introvert and did not like to be around people. But the support and love that I have got in my new family, Udayan Care, has helped me adjust, overcome my unresolved past experiences and become confident. I soon started going to school and learnt to read and write and made some amazing friends. I could really see myself improving and becoming strong. I also got an amazing opportunity to go the USA almost for a year where I travelled the length and breadth of the country and performed as part of a choir raising funds for orphaned and abandoned children across the world. This is where I developed compassion. The experience truly helped me boost my confidence, get better at developing relationships and know different cultures. It also helped me develop good communication skills. I always look for opportunities to get exposed to new and different experiences which help me develop my personality as a loving and compassionate person. I am a skilful painter and aspire to have a career in interior designing. Someday, I would want to be on such a platform through which I can raise awareness among the masses about the children without family care and the children in out-of-home care settings. I want to bring attention to the problems that they have been or go through and that these children too can flourish when provided with love and the right support. So, this is all about myself. I hope that the people reading my story find the right reasons and extend their support to the children like me.
Now, let me take you through some of the fun and learning engagements that took place at different Sunshine Homes –
Set with the theme, Bounce Back, the first ever virtual adidas-Udayan Care Winter Carnival was organized on 21st February’21. Surpassing the difficult times, the event marked the celebration of resilience shown by the kids and the team at Udayan Care. 250+ kids and youth, 100 staff members and mentor parents, volunteers from adidas India team and numerous guests came together to enjoy the day filled with fun and excitement.
Kick-started by Savio, Digital Brand Commerce Director, adidas, the virtual Winter Carnival unfolded the graceful and energetic group dance performances and gimmicky AdMad acts put together by the Udayan Ghar children and the carers. On spot quiz sessions facilitated by team adidas, rib-tickling mimicry and astonishing magic show kept everyone engaged and glued to their screen.
Empowering Women has been like a process of bringing significance to the most significant. The process of empowerment twins best with education. Educating a child has always brought with it progress and a hope of a better future. To recognize the struggles and achievements of women from all walks of life, International Women’s Day was celebrated across all Udayan Ghars on 8th March 2021. The celebrations became bigger when officials from M.G. Motor, in groups of 2-3 members, visited the Udayan Ghars to reinstate the hope and inspiration of a better tomorrow. The team from M.G. Motor including Rajeev, Managing Director brought smiles on the face of all the children and staff. While spending time exchanging ideas and having interactive sessions, the entire visit was a boost to enshrining in each child, the spirit of women power and knowing about great women leaders. The excitement was increased even more when 14 Udayan Ghars received a laptop and each child got a goody bag along with tasty snacks for all.
Conservation of natural resources creates a state of harmony between us and mother earth. Looking at the present pollution levels and rampant garbage dumping in our cities, it is imperative to inculcate the values of cleanliness and conservation in the younger generation. 10 of girls from Udayan Ghar Jaipur participated in the “Clean Forest Campaign” of Jhalana Leopard Reserve, Jaipur and contributed their bit in cleaning the forest. The Campaign was successfully organized with the joint efforts of the Eco Rescuers Foundation, Jhalana Wild area team, Udayan Care, and the forest department.
Red, yellow, green or blue; every colour of Holi has one common hue, i.e. colour of compassion.
A festival of colors, a time to strengthen relationships, this year, children & staff celebrated a quarantined Holi with colors of compassion, hope and happiness. While at some of the Ghars, it was a plethora of colors, at others, children delved into trying out making the traditional gujias which came out be a mouth-watering delicacy. The celebration was made grand by our esteemed donors from Pantaloons and Taco Bell joining in to donate and engage in some activities with the children.
ArtReach India Foundation continued to conduct art workshops with children at some of the Udayan Ghars. A series of workshops that spanned over a year, starting from July’20 culminated into a virtual exhibition in Apri’21. The children showcased their artworks and were given a platform to share thoughts around their creative pieces.
At the beginning of every month, children across Udayan Ghars are engaged in interactive sessions. They are made to identify important days and events in that particular month and are asked to plan activities and create informative content around the same. During every month, informative sessions on such days and events are conducted.
Hope I have been able to give you fair glimpse of some of the fun and learning engagements amidst these COVID times in Sunshine Homes. These engagements along with untiring hopes, Udayan Ghar family, support from like-minded people and resilience has kept us buoyant even during the most difficult times. Now, let me tell you a bit about the hardships we have faced in the last few months and how we overcame the same.
As you know, India has recently been hit by a new wave of COVID-19 affecting states, cities, resources and people. Anxiety, loss of life, stress and helplessness were yet again on the rise impacting everyone physically, emotionally and psychologically.
The team at Sunshine Homes family, had made it through the struggles of 2020, by putting in place an efficient and quick response to the crisis, leveraged by the exceptional commitment of the team members. In March 2021, we found ourselves proud but rather exhausted and we could foresee that the months to come would not be easier, as we had wished them to be. Yet, once the force of the new wave became obvious, everybody in the team brushed away their tiredness and geared up to face the situation. To prevent the spread of the virus and to mitigate the risks, immediate directions and guidelines were issued. Once again there was a complete halt on the in and out movements. Considering the gravity of the situation, sessions on precautionary measures were conducted and the team was also trained to provide care and look after COVID-positive patients safely.
Despite the stringent precautionary measures in place, our defences were breached and some of the Sunshine Homes got severely affected. Sadly, within a few weeks 32 children and staff members at some of the homes were tested positive. Arrangements for turning/ creating a room into a quarantine room were made in the affected homes. As a family would do, we are looked and continued looking after each other, following a strict Pre and Post covid protocol, trying to keep everyone safe and helping the infected ones recover quickly. Also, the timely supply of needed medication, equipments such as vaporizers, oxygen concentrators, oximeter etc. was truly helpful in curbing the spread of the virus.
The children & staff, so far, have recovered without a hospital admission or oxygen assistance. Most of members who were tested positive are also getting better. Very fortunately, most of us did not suffered from severe symptoms.
During this uncertain and fragile period, there is one thing we, the children know: by seeing how the adults around us become capable of facing such challenges, with calm and solidarity, we understand that it is with courage, humility and generosity that we can achieve great things and overcome the harshest times.
At last, I’d want to say that tough times never last, but tough people do.
With this, I thank GlobalGiving and the associated donors for their sustained support which has enabled us to continue to grow in a family environment. I wish everyone good health.
Hoping to connect again.
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