Maharashtra Day. Yawn, just another public holiday; a day to lay back and rest in this taxing summer. But not for the 2000 children from several Child Welfare Institutions across Mumbai who reach Shanmukhanand Auditorium sharp at 9 A.M. all set to pay a tribute to Indian Bollywood Classics.
Our Children, a Charitable Trust and NGO ensured that the day is celebrated in its truest sense by these God’s own kids. On 1st May, the largest auditorium in Maharashtra witnessed the 27th Children’s Meet, where about 450 children from 25 institutions including Chembur Children’s Home and A D Bawla Female Orphanage performed stage items.
The idea of this meet was to give children an opportunity to exhibit their hidden talent as well as a chance to meet their friends or even siblings from other institutions across Mumbai. “The Children’s Meet even provides an opportunity to physically and mentally challenged children residing at Asha Daan and Mentally Deficient Children’s Home to show that they are as capable as anyone else.” says Bharti Dalal, a trustee of Our Children.
Since 1971, the Children’s Meet has been empowering the youth of tomorrow by providing them a platform to build their confidence through publishing their paintings, articles and poems. This has also helped in developing their over-all personality by inculcating oratory and inter-personal skills within them. Bal Griha, BJ Home for Children and Family Guild of Services secures first, second and third position respectively in dance competition. “We have been practicing very hard for the dance competition. I am very happy that our efforts paid off so well. The Victory Shield that we have won is a matter of honour for our institution”, said 12 year old Girish Jadhav from Bal Graha.
Selecting some of the children as the guests of honour rather than inviting some big-shot celebrities is just another way that they instil a sense of pride amongst these children. The event saw eminent personalities like film director Lekh Tandon coming to judge these children.
A proof of the effectiveness of this step by Our Children is the fact that the children who once performed at this very meet are today independent, self-reliant individuals. Many Children’s’ Meet alums return to this very event to volunteer in whatever way they can to ensure its smooth functioning. “I remember wearing a pink frock and performing here when I was a kid. The least I can do is volunteer for the event which gave me the opportunity to perform at such a prestigious platform”, says Priyanka who has now completed her Bachelors in Optometric.
Volunteering is just an excuse; the hidden motive is to catch up with their old companions and find their own sweet memories of Children’s Meet in today’s performers, nostalgically.
Sahil Khan [via guest correspondent, Akshata Samant]