The last two years have been an internal revelation. Closeted in our own homes, in comfort, but still ‘locked-in’, one has felt immense gratitude for all that one has. We saw to it that our kids remained safe and healthy and we made it a point to provide them with everything to maintain their – and our – sanity. Toys, games, books, online lessons etc. However, this time has also led to our conscience becoming a greater decision maker for us. Many of us have got ‘wake up’ calls – to make a real effort to do something purposeful in this time left to us on Earth.
As one has counted one’s personal blessings, it has hit home that the world’s poorest children – so many millions of whom are Indian – live a life of utter poverty, no education, lack of sanitation, food and safe drinking water and no proper houses. All this has led, over decades, to entrenched societal issues such as child labour, child marriage, major health issues and crime, posing a threat to urban society. It makes a sad mockery of our idea of India in the 21st century as it deserves to be. The same conditions are passed on to oncoming generations of slum dwellers, making their upliftment difficult, if not impossible. As Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director says so cogently of the impact of Covid, “Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end.”
The catastrophe is so big that everyone must now contribute towards making a change. Every bit will count. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. So as a team we decided to try and see if our little efforts can bring a smile – or even a flicker of hope – in these children. We decided to gift these children toys to kindle hope in a better future, to impart some confidence that they are not forgotten, that they have as much right to joy as anyone else.
Children are our future. And as such, they have immense power. Whilst so much must be done to enable a better standard of living for India’s under privileged children, our hope is to enable something that is as important perhaps – a cushion of hope, a ripple of joy, and an upliftment of their spirit.