Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ooty children home

All smiles

Ooty Children home
Village Thoopur, near Dharampuri
One building, one school, one line to draw clothes, no taps and one large field to play in
2 volunteers, dedicating 6 months of their life to create an environment that is warm, alive and secure

18 children.
The youngest is 3 year old vibha, a toddler of a girl who comes and asks you in perfect English….
Didi, what is your name? my name is vibha..;-)
Before proceeding to turn around and run off to the loudest part of the field to play in

Dada, the 4 year old boy looks at you with big eyes pleading to be placed on the boot of the car. The rest are little men and women, clever, witty, independent smart children who feel no fear or hesitation in saying anything that they need.

But I need to pause and give you some background.

The Sunday of October fest, we sat around the dinner table seeing pictures of the ooty children home. The only reason, we became aware that this place existed was because we were hosting someone who was volunteering there. The fact that she had come all the way from Spain to work with these children, while we sitting less than 200km away were doing nothing, humbled us.  As so just like that over dinner a plan was made.

A plan to help these kids smile……….

A facebook message was drafted and circulated. For less than 5 days we spoke to people about the mission to get these children the basics of life that we needed. In a weeks time, we were shocked by the overwhelming generosity of a few people and the indifference of a few.

With a packed car, we drove out to the home and despite the hiccups of the drive, we reached. The kids were there excited and happy, jumping. They were a mix from the North and the South. But what struck me about them was the confidence they excluded….. they did not ask for charity or pity, they welcomed you into their home, and displayed what little they had….

Leg pulling, some hop stoch.. boys teasing the girls the girls running off to play clapping games. Amusement at the dog there was joy that the place had packed in… somehow they had laughter even though there were so many gaps between what they wanted and had.

In an experience crammed world, their life was about their dormitory, the school less than 20 mts away and the flat piece of land. Going to the town a 10 min walk was a novelty. And going home a rarity.
For me I wanted to capture that moment. Did not want to see into their past, scared for what I would find…. Did not want to anticipate the future, nervous about how shiny their eyes would remain. Wanted a pause button. For that afternoon, that time.

Now I know what my Mumbais mission is, when he sets up his company to funnel back funds. One cant meet the children, interact with them and disappear. They live on, and without access to assistance, they may not get the paradise they deserve.
For those who may want to help these little ones, drop me a comment and we can take it from there.