There it is, on the left side of the wide roads of Gurgaon, lavish hotels show casing the rich and the affluent, with breathtaking display of fountains & lifestyle. Cross the road and you'll be greeted by a broken boundary wall that engulfs automobile workshops, kirana stores and a sprawling slum with muddy ponds and pigs. Look more closely and you'll see some playful faces. These children, come from homes that can just about afford basic food and winter clothing yet they are happy and full of hope. Thanks to an anganwadi cum a learning center run by the New Life church, these children are indeed getting their rightful education and mid day meals.
The moment we (Deepak Soni, Ashima and I) entered the center, the kids greeted us with a smile "Good Morning". We started with a small round of introductions, followed by a story of "Chatpat Monkey". The story was read out in Hindi and English and the kids were quick to catch the moral. A five minute dance prepared by the kids was presented and it made everyone proud. We then shared a few general knowledge questions about the leaders of India, to which their answer was "humari teacher humein sab kuch padhati hai" :)
Then came the distribution of gifts. Last weekend we had sorted out the gifts collected from various institutions. They were then washed, cleaned and wrapped according to the age groups (thanks to all our toy donors).
Kids received toys along with some sweets brought by the volunteers of the learning center. While we were sipping tea and talking to the teachers, a child came up to us to show his toy- a Japanese yo yo balloon! His smile made my weekend and I wish to give this message to every privileged Indian that "weekends should not be restricted to having a leisure time for the self, but also to provide a leisure time to those who have never experienced it!
(Toybank volunteer - IBM, Noida)