How did it start?
Our group of friends decided to have a vacation in Mumbai and celebrate the new year’s eve there. During that time the idea of this organization was budding. We thought of this as a wonderful opportunity to kick start our mission of bringing smiles. And in deed the smiles on the innocent Indian children we met are unforgettable and precious! So how did it all happen? Enter Diveagar…. 28th Dec 2011
Diveagar Beach is located approximately 170 kilometers south of Mumbai.
After checking in we decided to visit some nearby villages and experience the life there.
As we reached there we saw a school where some 30-40 kids were playing. We got a few chocolates for them and soon we were surrounded by a hive of them! We spoke to them in their local language Marathi (thankfully one of our Indian friends knew it) and made them form a queue.
Each of them took just one chocolate and then went and told their friends to also go get one. But none of them came for a second chocolate! Very impressive considering that chocolate is a delicacy for them!
We stroke a conversation with them by “Tumhara naam kya hein(whats your name)?” ( We had learnt basic Hindi beefore our trip to India) and soon we had them chitchatting with us. We clicked lots of photos of jumping, playing, happy and carefree children.. reminding us of our blissful childhood. Their smiles gave us a kind of peace and satisfaction that was divine!
As we walked further we saw some children playing on a street. There were houses on both the sides of the street. During our conversation with them, we learnt that the school had an annual day program in the evening. We were excited about it and decided to go there. When we reached the school that evening, we were given a warm welcome by the school authorities. While all others, about 100 kids and their parents were seated on a carpet on the floor, we were honored by giving chairs. Soon there was an announcement made about us on the stage – as special guests from different nations (we were 6 of us from Germany, South Africa, Romania, India) It was then that it clicked us that it wasn’t the chocolates but meeting people from different part of the world that excited the children in the morning! We enjoyed the cultural program, especially the musical dramas that the children performed. We decided to do something for the school and thought of giving a donation to improve the infrastructure. (May be next time we do something more with a personal touch!)
We spoke to the 74 year principal of the school about the donation, but he denied our offer stating that our presence was what mattered him the most! Nevertheless we persuaded them to take it.
The old man went ahead and told us how he started the school and had to convince children to start coming to school and His wife supported him in all his ventures. When we left the school, we saw a lot of happy satisfied faces! It was a fantastic day and we were already eagerly looking forward to the next day.
We were leaving for Mumbai next day. On the way we decided to stop over at other villages and meet some more children. We had loaded our car boot with a lot of toys /sports gear from Mumbai and wanted to spread some more joy to some more children. We saw some children playing on a roadside ground. We took some toys and played with them for a while. As we were leaving we asked them to keep the toys and they were overjoyed to hear that! And so were we to see their smiling faces. We moved ahead and saw some more children playing at a construction site where their parents were labourers. Just to give an idea, these labourer earn just about 2 € for a days work to make their ends meet. It was very important that we brought some smiles here. We gave the some toys and played with them, till their parents had to take them and get back to work, but by then our mission of bringing smiles was accomplished. 🙂
We took a detour through some more villages. We visited a kindergarten where a teacher was handling a group children of 2-3 years age group. We spoke to them and gave them some chocolates. Nearby there were some bigger kids playing cricket. We took the cricket kits from our car boot and played with them. It was great fun. And of course they were happy to have the new kits!
A few more stops and it was time for us to race to Mumbai … because unfortunately we had to get back to our routine. But not before we saw hundreds of smiling faces and that’s what lingers in our memories till date!