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Special Santa on freezing Xmas

Udgreev is a project of Samvedana with the youth of the slum community from vadaj. Here the young minds are undergoing training for vocational skills also are offered workshops for becoming self sufficient, proactive, conscious and sensitized citizens of our nation. It is an effort towards responsible nation building for tomorrow.

Last Diwali, we received lots of clothes for distributing amongst the deserving children. At Samvedana, charity is understood in its true spirit. We respect our children’s self esteem. Also understand their right to choose the colour they would like or size they would fit into. Considering this, we thought of having a Garage sale.

Udgreev students took this up along with the teachers. Stacking up the clothes size and gender wise, pricing them nominally from 10 rs to 50 rs. the marketing was done in the community by the community youth.a Sunday morning the flee market was held at the school itself! WOW….what a footfall… not just that, enthusiastic mothers, who wanted to buy..came, selected, the young volunteers selling were elated selling, having internal competition of whose stall is doing well… kids r trying out there and then, very happy to buy clothes for this less price and that too from their school itself!

In the end, sale reached the figure of 7,500/=.

It was Diwali time and I gave them the choice to decide what they wished to do about this money collected. Surprisingly they were not of the opinion to distribute amongst themselves or go have a party outside, instead they suggested Samvedana may keep it for us now and will think over it and use it for any good cause at another time.

These young leaders OF 'UDGREEV' from the slums planned to play Santa the coming xmas. Inspired by the Santa stories, they shared a brilliant idea.they planned to distribute gift hampers after midnight silently by the side of the children sleeping on the footpath. They reminded me about the money gathered during diwali could be put to use at this time to buy warm clothes for gift hampers for distribution! It brought tears to my eyes to witness this sensitivity. These children are from families who barely manage their square meals. Yet they chose to voluntarily donate from their share to those who were in worst condition than theirs!

Thus 24th dec, 2012, our group with santas- youth from vadaj community, few Samvedana volunteers, teachers started riding on the ‘camel cart’- our special sledge! We crossed the ashram road, nehrubridge and ellisbridge and back! During the entire walk, I was in a daze…just observing the sensitized young students if Samvedana distribute the gifthampers by silently hiding them under the mattress the street children were sleeping on, so that they do not wake up and can have the surprise element next morning!

When we reached the school at 4 am, Nida with few other volunteers had reached early and lit candles at the school. On entering the campus lit with candles all around, something lit inside each one of us; we all sat in the silence – felt the joy of giving the spirit of compassion and experienced the connectedness with each one of us!

This attitude, belief of giving, sharing and compassion for the fellow beings in the minds of our young students is the greatest satisfaction and achievement of Samvedana.

- Janki Vasant


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