On the auspicious day of our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru's birthday, we were given the opportunity to celebrate Children’s Day at Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital. The volunteers of Share A Book, India Association (SABIA) conducted story telling session for children with the theme of Superheroes, using comic action figures as props, volunteers engaged children and took them on the journey of Superhero Legends. The enthusiastic and joyous faces of children encouraged volunteers to take session next step ahead and they brought out origami papers; and those crafty children surprised volunteers by creating flowers, boats, birds, planes on their own and they keenly taught different folds to volunteers too. Children competed with one another with regards to whose plane flew the highest and for the longest distance. Winner was gifted superhero crown, courtesy of Cipla's employee present there with goodies for children on Children’s Day.
The session was a success. Volunteers, who were there to serve a purpose of giving those children a memorable children’s day; were the ones who were left awe-inspired by the energy and passion showcased to them. The children gave them so many memories like they didn’t want to be forgotten and truly wanted volunteers to visit them again. The aura of the session created a world of its own with little thought as to why these children were in the hospital, what purpose the volunteers were there for.
The doctors allowed volunteers to visit bed ridden children and engage them in one-to-one story telling session. Volunteers got to meet cancer patients of age group 2-7. Those tiny beings were sedated with medicines and were barely able to keep their eyes open when volunteers came to visit them. One particular patient of around age six was less respondent to human interactions, even towards his parents. Though, he was intently engaged in watching Cartoon videos on YouTube, so a volunteer narrated Tom & Jerry while the child watched the video.
Later, when Head Doctor met up with all volunteers, he was keen to share a story about a man who saw how ocean waves carried tiny turtles to beaches and left, so the man picked those tiny turtles and threw them back into ocean; when asked why he was wasting his energy, as the wild waves will bring turtles on beach again, the man replied, even if he can’t save all turtles, he’s happy to know he saved at least one.
Through this story, the Head Doctor wanted to convey how thankful he was to our volunteers for taking time out and spending it with children; how spending time with their patients would instil a deeper sense of gratitude in volunteers with regards to life and body functioning and how simultaneously the volunteers were able to divert their patients from the thought of their condition even for a little while.
It was a day well counted.
Author - Saumya Birah