It was yet another lovely Sunday morning, and most of the people were on the peak of celebrating the “Festival of Lights”. Even before my alarm woke me up, the sound of crackers made me jump out of my bed. I peeped out of the window, and saw everyone enjoying, and waiting to burst the crackers. I got ready, and went out to have my share of fun. Though I was enjoying there, in one deep corner of my mind, I was thinking about the GBH kids.

GBH!!! That was where I had planned to go with my colleagues that evening, and celebrate with those kids. Arthi and I had always wished to go there since a long time. When we heard that the usual visitors; Arnab, Ganesh, and Naren, were planning to go, we decided to accompany them. We reached there by 4.00 pm, and saw many more colleagues coming in for the celebrations. Ganesh, Naren and Debatma had arranged for the sweets, and Sundaram had managed to get a big box of crackers.

Before we began the fun, we spoke to a few kids, who were to be relocated with their families. They had either run away from their homes or had got lost while travelling. They were locked in a room, so that, they don’t run away or get lost again. Few kids were watching TV, while few others were playing amid themselves. These kids were either sent back to their families, if traced, or sent to GBH of different cities, after a period of 3 months.

There was another group of kids in a different building, who lived there. Few of those kids had gone back home for Diwali and were returning. The sight of the parents coming and leaving their own kids was so pathetic. Most of the people left their kids there, as they don’t have enough money to bring them up.

Meanwhile, we asked the supervisors to bring all the kids together, so that, we could start the fun. We distributed sweets to them. Few kids came forward to showcase their talents. They sang songs and danced. We were amazed to see everyone sing a song in chorus, and three kids dancing for it. It was really nice to see them enjoying and they were eagerly waiting to burst crackers.

At around 6.00 pm, we went to the ground, outside the home, to play with the fireworks. All the kids stood in a row, and waited for their turns to come. They were divided into groups and we took care of them while bursting the crackers. We made sure that everyone got their turns.

We, along with the kids, had a splendid time. We had so much of fun that we did not bother to check the time. It was 8.00 pm, and we never knew that two hours had passed by then. The kids were sent back to their rooms.

We waved them and squeezed ourselves in Sundaram’s car and got dropped in the station. While in the train, on the way back home, the sight of the fireworks sparkling in the dark sky reminded me of the kids, their talents, and notably the fun we had with them. It was indeed an awesome evening…

Archana Raghunath

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The world outside a train window looks different as if you are traversing the landscape of a fairytale. Outside window a new world was broadening itself to the farthest of horizon. Sun was climbing on it slowly like a mountaineer. It’s a glittering day with a texture of relax.

           I had boarded the local train to go to Beach station today. Inside compartment there were few people. Compartment wore a dull atmosphere. An intense silence was spreading over to cover it. From nowhere an unknown thought came and collided with my ongoing thought. A name flickered in mind…”Ajay Gupta”….It was acknowledged. It was affirmed. In split of moment, it was overridden by the silence again. As if a small boat was swallowed by the huge waves and it sank shortly thereafter. Train was moving carrying this profound silence.

          It’s just another shining Sunday in Chennai. But for some it is just another day of despair and loneliness surrounded by random faces of others. They all belong to same age group. You see them playing, fighting and crying. Far from their loved ones it is just another day in their knowledge of mathematics for how many days they have been here.

          It is said that childhood has its own color. Its own personality. It plays. It cries. It fears in its own boundary of self.GBH is a bit noisy place with scattered innocence.

            “Ajay Gupta kaun hain yahan?” (“Who is Ajay Gupta here?”)

I called one boy from the herd. He looked at me like a lost soul. I called another boy. Surprisingly, he too didn’t know. But he started helping me as if he just got the most important task in his life. I had received the details of this boy from a friend.

Ajay’s father is a vegetable seller in Mumbai. His mother stays in village Narayanpur (Nearby Prataphgarh, a town in Uttar Pradesh). Ajay stayed and studied in his village until he was misplaced with their parents. He had given us details of their uncles and siblings but that couldn’t offer much help. He didn’t know any contact details either.

I saw a boy sleeping on the floor in corner of hall. I went there and tried to wake him up. He looked like a small bird whose cozy nest was rattled. He put his hands on his eyes while trying to awake. Sunlight coming from window was blinding his eyes. Slowly reality before him came into focus.

            “Tumhara Naam Kya Hai..?” (What is your name? I asked the boy.)

            “Ajay…”  (Still having one hand on his one eye…trying to come out of inertia of sleep.)

            “Pura Naam bolo…” (“Tell me your full name”, I asked him.)

            “Ajay Gupta…”, He replied.

            “Tumhare school ka kya naam hai ?” (“What is your school name”, I asked. )

            “Narayanpur school….”,He said.

           “Teacher ka naam batawo…” (“Tell me your teacher’s name”, I asked him.)

           “N.B. Singh hindi padhate hai…..R.B sir….ab wo dusre class ko padhate hai” (N.B Singh teaches us hindi…R.B sir don’t teach anymore. he teaches another class.)

            “Papa ke paas mobile hai kya..?” (“Does your father have mobile…? “, I asked)

            “Haan…Lekin number nahi maloom hai” (“Yes. but I don’t know the number”, He answered.)

             “Achcha Koi baat nahi….koi bhi aisa mobile number batawo jo tumhe yaad hai.” (“OK No Problem….tell me any mobile number which you remember”, I asked again.)

             “Nahi Maloom” (“I don’t know”, He replied and he started crying realizing that he will not able to see their parents as he does not know these details.) 

I assured him that I will take him to his parents to stop him crying. I started asking other details to distract him.I felt like a failed person before a child.I threw a glance over the hall for a moment. Arnab, sitting by the wall was talking to other kids. Kids at GBH love him. He looked like another kid surrounded by kids. Mukund was taking details from a boy from M.P. Saurabh was talking to hathras kids. These two kids were neighbor to each other and had run away from home together. Ganesh, maintaining a monk like charm, was taking details from a local kid. He looks a very cool guy. I don’t know how he maintains it. May be its readymade.

 Suddenly, the kid with me started running. I caught him with one hand.

                 “Kya Hua…Kyon bhag rahe ho? “  (“What happened? Why you are running?” I asked hurriedly.)

                 “Choclate…” (The simplest answer a child can give…)

Tamil had started distributing chocolates and biscuits among kids. Other kids also jumped to him. 

                 “Achcha…Jao. Aur wapas jaldi aao”… (“OK go but come back soon”…I said to him).

A big smile erupted all over his dry and tear soaked face. Isn’t this amazing? A missing and sad boy sees a chocolate and becomes so happy. Moments lost in fog of time.

 Ajay came back to me. I asked him more details. I noted down everything whatever he told me. But these details were not direct enough which could help us in finding his parents easily.  I called another boy, and started asking details from him. After spending few hours, crew members started wrapping up. It was time to return. We said bye to everyone and started off.

After coming out, it felt very calm. Guys were discussing among themselves about their today’s visit. I was feeling a mild headache, still feeling bad about these kids. They are just small kids. They are in need of purest love and care untouched by the doubts and compulsion of real life. Why they are facing this hardship at this fragile age.  I was still able to hear the noises of those kids behind us which was slowly ceasing out as we moved toward main gate. With a blank notion I looked behind, a boy standing by GBH window was crying while seeing me go….

I waved my hand to him…”Bye Ajay”.

With a four days continuous effort we were able to trace the parents of Ajay. I would like to thank Google almighty for his immense help. With google map I was able to find Prataphgarh and other nearby towns. One day I was just searching for list of schools in nearby towns of Narayanpur. In search result I saw a mobile number of a headmaster ( Sri Dayaram Tiwari) of a school in Prataphgarh. Next day morning I called him. He was very much interested to help us when we explained him the whole situation. Fortunately he knew “ Mr. N.B Singh – Ajay’s Hindi teacher”. He helped me in tracing Ajay’s mother and father.  He personally travelled from Kanpur to the village where his father & mother were staying and passed on the message to their parents. A couple of days later, the parents came to Chennai and took the boy to their home.

                                                                                                          – Basant Kumar Yadav

Well…What to say about the Independence celebrations happened in GBH on Sunday. It was a very successful, enjoyable and a tiresome celebration which brought smiles in lots of kids faces. We have got more volunteers this time and I am proud to say that everyone is from Gen Re project.

7 of us assembled in Chennai beach station by 9AM and we made our way to GBH with a cup of expensive but a tasty tea from Saravana bhavan. By the time we reached GBH, we were surprised to see that few of our friends have already reached and started the preparation.

Arnab started his day by asking details with the kids waiting to go home and to be frank they were very cooperative by giving their name and contact details. Parallely Gowtham was also collecting the contact details from a boy. He started saying his contact number as 0678 and so our poor Gowtham started dialing the number and finaly he realised that the kid is making fun out of him because the number was 0678912345 etc. which is just a sequential number…:-)

Come on guys....come on....
Come on guys….come on….

Now its time for fun. We splitted ourselves into 3 different groups and the boys were splitted into 3 different groups namely Gandhi, Nehru, Anna with almost 25 boys in each group. It all started as usual with shouting and trying to assemble the kids. Atlast we were able to assemble everyone and the participation of the boys were tremendous. We started with the running race event for all the boys and  we could see some Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis on the track.

Almost on the verge of fall
Almost on the verge of fall

Parallely another group of our CSR team conducted the Lemon & Spoon event. Boys were given a spoon with a small lemon on it. They have to hold the spoon with the lemon in their mouth and who crosses the mark wins the prize. It was like watching Manoj Night Shayamalan’s thriller movie on the edge of the seat since we had that tension which kid is gonna win with the lemon just slipping on the spoon.

And for the relocation kids, we had the classical drawing competition. We just cant believe that many were able to draw some beautiful pictures and to mention one paticular kid, once the chart and the crayons were given, he just started drawing a duck swimming in a pond and it was an excellent work by that kid.

Prize Distribution
Prize Distribution

Atlast comes the most awaited event which is the sweet distribution for the kids. Variety of sweets like guava, chocolates and biscuits were given to kids and we could see real happiness in their faces. So here is the ending note which is the prize distribution for our winners and a short speech by our thala Mukund which gave a sweet ending for the Independence celebration successfully.

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog and you might wonder who is this new entry in the community…So its time for me to introduce myself…I am Janardhan working in GenRe project and just started becoming an active member in CSR…Meet you soon with more blogs…:-)

–  J@n@

Akhil’s (name changed) relocation.

This was a relocation which was done a long time back . Thanks to Dhyanesh who spoke to the kid and got enough information from him. The boy was from a place in Maharastra.  He was very stubborn and wasn’t revealing any information. Not only he, most of the kids, whom we meet from Maharastra are like that. (I cud atleast see a % of Raj thackarey in all of them 😦 ).

Fine!!! back to our relocation efforts. It was a tough job. He was from a place  called Khatomal, near Nagpur. We couldn’t find the place anywhere. We spoke to the boy a couple of times and got information about the nearest railway stations. We were searching for a volunteer but our efforts ended in vain. Google saved us again!!!! We got in touch with Mr. SHAMRAO DHAWALE thru http://propoor.org. A great site which gives access to many NGOs.  He is the director of Gramin Adivasi samaj vikas sansthan (GASVS).  We spoke to him and explained him the whole situation.

He assured that he will help us. He got in touch with MLAs, police officials and gave several contacts. They weren’t that helpful. We had shared Akhil’s tracker sheet with Mr. Dhawale. He took pains to find their parents and sent them to Chennai. The legal processes followed and Akhil is back with his family now. The boy was staying @ GBh for more than 3 months and atlast we could help  him to reunite him with his family.

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Dhawale, who was helping us for the relocation.

—– Mukund

Chinmayee’s (name changed)(7 yrs) relocation was considered a tough job by the (Govt Girls Home) GGH officials. So they wanted us to take up that.

Initially when we visited GGH a couple of times, as expected the kid was not giving any proper details. All she was telling is that she wants to go home and she is from Redhills. We weren’t sure whether she is from Redhills or any near by place. She was also telling a school name and told that she was in grade 2 there. But there was no such school in and around Redhills. We had quite a few enquiries again and again, but were not getting any other information from here. Then we spoke with the warden there and asked about the details that the Child Line enquiry team gave about the kid. She told me that Chinmayee had told about a place called padianallur that time, and there is such a place near Redhills, which was confirmed by a Child Line Official from Redhills.

Finally during one weekend visit, after a bunch of questions, she gave us some scattered information – Easwari Nagar, Padinallur, Redhills, Perumal nagar, a temple in the bus stop etc. And she told that she can locate her house if we take her to Redhills. But we cannot roam around with the kid in field work, without any solid information. So With all these bits and pieces,  Kottee, one of our CS team member, went to Redhills the following weekend and threaded the pieces of information to an extent. He found that there is a place called Easwaran kovil street, padianallur is a near by place to Redhills and there is a bus stop with a Perumal temple near by.

But then, with the permission of the Girls’ Home staffs, we had to take the risk of taking the child to Redhills with the minimal information we had. Three associates from CS team (Kottee, Anu and Charanya )went to Redhills with the child on a Saturday. Laxminarayanan arranged local volunteers from Redhills. With the help of them, finally they ended up locating Chinmayee’s house. It was then found that the kid was lost in a temple festival in padianallur near Redhills, couple of months back. 

We were able to see the tears of happiness and joy in Chinmayee’s parents, on seeing her.

They were asked to submit the documents of proof to the Home. They did so in the following week and she was handed over to her parents

—Divya

Praveen & Shahnaz

Praveen & Shahnaz

 

CS Bangalore – ‘The Way’ group celebrated Silver Jubilee successful relocation. This is a great achievement our team has achieved in a short span of 4 months. This would never have been possible without our key strengths and friends. Congratulations to all our key players Sanjay, Santosh, Rahul, Deepak, Shiuli, Shahanaz, Jagannath and all Chennai CS The Way volunteers who helped our group to reach this count. Keep the spirit up guys!

This is the first grand celebration of our team in Government Reception Centre for Boys Bangalore. To celebrate this event, our team discussed with the probationary officers in Govt Home and planned for Drawing Competition, Snacks distribution, Prize distribution, Thanksgiving with Sports Kit for all the kids. It took some 15 days time to conclude on a date for celebration but finally… we could set it March 22nd.

Boys in action

Boys in action

All our volunteers were too eager and happy to take up some or the other responsibility for this day. With some misfortune two days before our grand day, one of our volunteer Thamizh met with a minor accident in Chennai and was in a dilemma on how to make it for the day. He took up the responsibility of our entire drawing kit. Thanks Shahanaz for taking up this responsibility and making all arrangements done in a day.  Thanks Thamizh for joining us this event even after taking pain and for bearing torture from kids in your hands. Thanks Shiuli for taking up the responsibility of Sports Kit and Snacks Items with help of your friends.

Sunday March 22nd, 2009!

The day arrived where in to share these festivities for the celebration for Silver Jubilee Successful Relocation with our team, some supporter friends and some Chennai volunteers could make it the day, and we were all set with the curriculums and plans.

Foodie

Foodie

The day started with shouting and running behind kids to make them sit silently in a row (sounds funny, well… not silently) which took almost half an hr to 45 mins. And to make this “noise control” possible, some of our volunteers took lots of pain. I am sure; all our volunteers would have finished almost 2-3 bottles of water after reaching home, and some might have got throat pain.

To start up with the first program, Shahnaz and all our team were all set with drawing kit ready.  We made groups of five to six kids in each group and started distributing charts, pencils, erasers and later colors to each. The children’s started making skillful drawings and the environment soon became hosh –posh where someone’s pencil got broken or some other person did not get eraser. All our volunteers helped the kids a lot in getting all what they want and to bring down the environment calm. This was tougher because the kids’ strength here is more than 210.

By the time this Drawing competition gets over; Sairam group arrived who are our little champs’ fans. Sairam is an

Venky

Venky

 organization who is involved in teaching Devotional Songs –Bhajans, conducting Personality Development tuitions, conducting games and giving frequent weekend Snacks, Meals for these kids. Then, our little champs became little Tigers shouting at the top of their voice – Sairam, Sairam, Sairam… This became a tough time for us to control this Tiger crowd.. Being cooperative enough, they helped us in controlling these kids.

By this time, almost one and half hour was over of conducting the drawing program and we brought it to a forceful end, where some enthusiastic kids were been forced to stop drawing as they were doing for 2nd or 3rd rotation.

The finish of this contest was even more awesome where our group took a tough time to conclude on the most difficult part of the competition i.e. to judge on these creative arts and mind blowing drawings. After lots of discussion n’ confusion, our drawing master Praveen and all others could come to a conclusion in which the score was tied and the winner was undecided “the confusions got settled with the record of 3*4 winners and a Special prize by Praveen”. 1st category of winner was for Pencil Art, 2nd category was for Color Pencil Art, 3rd category for Sketch Art and 4th was for Creative Art Category.

At the same time, half of our group were setting up with Snacks distribution making all arrangements ready and to help this event, we were been guided and helped by the wardens, security chiefs and Superintendent a lot.

Hanu

Hanu

All our volunteers helped the kids come in queue with their washed plates and hands to take up the delicacies from our lined volunteers, each ready with one item. They were been asked to sit in a queue in a Hall where the kids were waiting for the entire crowd to come in and sit with their plates before starting up eating. Just thought in mind, when I was in their age group, I always waited for my plate to be filled and sometimes before that itself started eating. How cum these small kids can wait for another 200 kids before starting the food even though food is in front and stomach in hunger! This is the first time; we have seen the entire crowd sitting so silently in rows. How come the tigers became Rabbits??? Once the Hall got filled with all the kids in, with their food plates, they started praying God with their melodious songs and sweet humming voice. Really awesome guidance by the security chiefs and wardens.

Then, so sad… selfish enough we still did not allow the kids to eat food because we did not wanted to take the risk to control the kids making them sit together for prize distribution. So we started with the prize distribution, and for this we called upon the

Fishy

Fishy

Superitendent, Probationary Officer, Security Chiefs and Wardens on the stage to give away the prizes. Sanjay, Praveen and Yashpal did all announcements and conducted the prize giving ceremony with the help of Shahnaz, Shiuli, Tulasi, Rahul, Swaroop; who were being helped by all other volunteers.

Three winners from each category (4) with Prizes (4*3) named 1st, 2nd and 3rd won Tennis Balls and one Special Prize by Praveen won packet full of 24 pens sketch. These prizes were being presented by our Probationary Officer, Wardens and Security Chiefs. Lastly, Sports Kit which included one Basket and Two Balls was being presented by our Superintendent. All kids and volunteers applauded for each winner and encouraged them. Finally…. Long time awaiting food n’ kids hunger came to an end when they had the delicacies

Titanic

Titanic

To bring the celebration to an end, we distributed Snacks to all our Security Chiefs, Wardens, Officers, Superitendent, Workers, Sairam Group and of course how can we forget our exhausted volunteers.

Thanks all for bringing this celebration a success this day… This would never be so successful without each and every volunteer’s help. Special thanks to IMRB International and VKARE Association members.

We wish the same spirit from all our volunteers and supporters, for all events we’ll have in future.

Good job guys! Keep this spirit up always!

 

 

Pic

Pic

They also supported for a mentally challenged person’s operation. Chk out the links for more information

http://vkare.in/gbh_visit.html

http://vkare.in/jhumris_gallery.html

http://vkare.in/ghb_visit_gallery.html

Charanjeet Singh Sandhu(Charan) was the relocator of Amar singh (name changed).  The boy was speaking pure Punjabi and wasn’t proficient in Hindi. He was staying @ GBH for almost a year. We were in search of a Punjabi volunteer, and identified Charan, Anuj & Amrit after a long struggle. Charan hails from Delhi. The boy wasn’t clear in his communication. He interpreted his words and found his hometown as Sultanwind near Amristar.

He informed his father who is at Delhi and sent him the boys picture. The boy had mentioned that his house is near a Gurudwara. His father went to the town and was searching the whole village with the given information. He could get thru @ the first instance. He posted an ad with Amar’s photograph in some of the Gurudwara’s. After 2 weeks, one of the boy’s relative turned up. They expressed their wish to take Amar singh, but unfortunately he is survived by his grand parents and sister who were not in a position to come to Chennai..

The boy spent his days @ Chennai GBH. GBH was unfortunate to find the address of a home @ Punjab and hence he cudn’t be transferred. It was more than a year the boy was staying @ Chennai and at times we heard that he was frustrated and wasn’t behaving properly. GBH has approached the Punjabi association for assistance to relocate this boy. They had sent a letter to the Chief Minister and were waiting for updates from them. It was during this time, we ventured in and traced his house.

Despite being traced, he was staying in Chennai since we cudn’t get the GBH address. We started googling for a GBH @ Punjab. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Dr. Meenu Singh @ the childline website. I called her the same day and explained her the whole scenario. She said she will help me and gave me the contacts of Mrs. Prabhjot Malhi and Mrs. Madhu P Singh. Mrs. Madhu P singh is taking care of the GBH @ Amritsar. We spoke to them and got the home address. The details were given to Chennai GBH and they instantly issued a transfer order. The boy was transferred to Chandigarh and he is @ the punjab home. We are very grateful to Dr. Meenu singh and her counterparts, who helped us to transfer Amar.

It also fetched us an appreciation letter from the Punjabi association thru Mr. Arun Raj. He is the probationary officer @ GBH supporting us in all our activities. He had described the whole information to the Punjabi association which in turn fetched us an appreciation letter. The first of its kind which really motivated us a lot.

Charan

Charan