Thursday, January 1, 2009

Report and snaps of DI Chennai events - Happy New Year 2009

Dear Friends,

I take great pleasure in writing to you about the trip with children from Adyar school and our monthly visit to Kaakum Karangal on the 28th of December 2008 (Sunday)

Before I continue with the report, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the members of Young Helping Minds –YHM (one of our partner organizations) who are part of our regular weekend classes at Adyar and other related activities.

Carrying out the arrangements for the trip was not very easy…it was a little tedious. However, with the support of Shyam, Poornima, Parthy, Kavitha, Sreeja, Krishnageetha, KrishnaThaara, Umesh, Murali and Mr.Mani (Build Future India),things were made pretty easy and the day was a memorable one for the kids and for all of us.

Trip with children from Adyar class:

On Saturday (27th of December 2008) many new members (Sreeja, Divya P, Krishnageetha & Mr.Mani) visited our class at Adyar shool. After the class was over, we informed the children about the plan for next day and the way they have to behave through the day.

After 2-3 hours of struggle running here and there to find a van to accommodate 30 people, Shyam, Parthy and myself, found a travels who promised to provide us with 25 seater van for Rs.1500. In the evening, we bought snacks for the kids. Meanwhile Poornima got first aid kit and ribbons ready. The ribbons with Parthy's and my contact numbers on it were used as identity for the kids and were tied in their hand.

On Sunday (28th December 2008) morning, we reached the school at 9.15 am. Kavitha, Poornima and Krishnageetha had already reached the place and were with the children. We started off to Birla Planetarium at 9.30 am. Umesh and Murali joined us at planetarium.

Children had great fun (that is clearly shown in the pictures ) in playing at the park at planetarium. There were devices which would help us find our weight, height etc using scientific principles. The kids tried them all and we were in time for the movie on astronomy. The children could not relate much to the movie as it was in English. However, the comments they made regarding what they saw showed their interest to learn.

Around 11.50 am, we left for the circus. Initially, we had bought Rs.90 tickets, but later after seeing the seating arrangement we decided to exchange it for Rs.120 tickets. This gave closer view for the kids with elephants, jokers moving very close to them. All of us had great time at circus with the kids. We bought ice cream and snacks for the children as we knew it would be a day of late lunch.

After non-stop entertainment for 2 hours, we left for the next destination, beach (the most awaited place for the children). The travel time was filled with singing and dancing in the van especially for songs such as "Naaka Mooka" and "Anjala anjala" (the latest peppy hit tunes)

On the way, we picked up the food parcels (special rice and chapathi which were ordered in advance) from Bharani restaurant. Around about 4.30pm we had lunch at the beach. It was a very late lunch.Thanks to the snacks because of which children were able to manage till we had lunch KrishnaThaara and her sister joined us along with Mr.Mani at beach.

It was mere fun here! All of us (Children and volunteers) stepped into the water in the beach and were completely drenched. We were there for about one and half hours. Words cannot describe the amount of joy we had. We left for the school around 6.15pm and reached at 6.30 pm. The children left home wishing all of us a very good night and thanking everyone. The children called us after reaching home as we had asked them to do so.

Overall, it was one of the best trips we have ever had with children. Most of the snaps would show the kind of love the children and volunteers share. It was absolute fun.


Kaakum Karangal (KK):

The visit was scheduled to happen a week earlier but got postponed because of some needs at KK. Kavitha, Parthy, Krishnageetha stayed back after the trip for KK visit.

Myself and Kavitha collected the dinner (50 sets of chapathi coffee) from Bharani hotel and reached KK at 7.30 pm. Ravin, Thilak, Shyam, Sajitha, Rajshree and Vel joined us at KK.

As usual, we started off with prayer, but to add a special note - during the prayer, one of the residents mentioned that the name Dream India itself brings smile in their face. They also gave a new year greeting card to Dream India. There are a lot of friends in DI who do not want their names to be put in public but continue supporting this project. The heart felt wishes from the residents of KK makes me feel so emotional and proud to be a part of this group. For many of our DI members who are staying miles away from the country, the special wishes from these people would transcend the physical distance and reach for sure.

After the prayer, we started serving dinner. Though we had 50*2=100 chapatti for 42 residents, unfortunately we ran short of it. However, Shyam and Parthy managed to get few more from a nearby hotel. Thanks to them for their timely support. The highlight of the dinner was the coffee, that was served. A few of the residents told me personally that after a very long time they were all having such a good quality coffee. In fact, during every visit we get feedback from the residents and thus decided to include coffee in the menu. It makes us sad to think that even such a small thing like coffee does not reach them daily.

After distributing the bananas we all left the home around 9 pm. Earlier, we had certain concerns from management regarding our interaction with residents which was considered to be beyond the level of what we should. I had a fear of some restriction, but it did not seem to bother us or make a big issue when we reached there.

If the children made the day as one of the best, the elderly made the evening a pleasant one. It was a perfect "Sunday" ….. a day that most of us are longing and working for. I am sure most of you who were not a part of this special day in person would love to be so.

Here are few snaps to make you also a part of it…


Wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year 2009. Hope we get to start the new year seeing the smiles of the kids and elderly alike in the snaps.



"Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress." - Mahatma

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