The lockdown during the pandemic was extremely difficult for all of us. The loneliness and anxiety everyone of us went through were very disturbing. We were locked in our homes for an insane amount of time, having nothing or very little to do.
There were a few problems that the shelter homes and NGOs faced. NGOs could not be physically present for the kids. The bond which the volunteers had established with the kids was taking a drastic hit. Many of these children have seen rash days. To build a connection and gain their trust took a lot of effort, to get them to open up was a difficult task which took a lot of attempts from the volunteers and also from the children. If we wouldn’t be in regular touch with them, then certain barriers would form again, which would take a lot of effort to break it down.
Another major problem faced was to provide regular education to the children. Whatever the circumstance, their education couldn’t be hampered. As we couldn’t be present physically to help them out, it was going to be an uphill task.
But in the face of adversity, an opportunity presents itself. At Muskurahat, we started working towards establishing a digital presence. All of this was new to us too, but we were ready for the challenge.
A time-table was set. The children attended their daily lectures on various platforms with the help of mobile phones. We also set up a webcam in one of the shelter homes. The kids were provided with daily activities to keep them occupied and engaged. We made sure that the feeling of being alone should not come to the kids again. The high morale and positive atmosphere of the shelter homes had to be maintained. We made sure it did.
During the lockdown, when you and I were tucked away in the safety of our homes, the children at our shelter home in Delhi went out, not because they were tired of staying in one place, or they had become restless, but to distribute essentials to the more needy people.
I had an opportunity to interact with one of the kids named Nitin, who had gone on his distribution drive. I asked him about his experience and how he felt after helping someone else during this difficult time.
He told me that it was the most amazing moment of his life and he wanted to help others, any opportunity he gets. He told me that the smile the lady had on her face when he handed her the essentials filled up his heart. He said that never in his life had he thought that he would be of help to another human and thanked all of us at Muskurahat for presenting him with this opportunity.
This little feeling of joy and accomplishment that Nitin felt is the very feeling we strive to inculcate in all of our children. That the past is behind them and the future holds great opportunities.