Nalandaway Foundation is a non-profit that works in some of the most economically backward states of the country to empower children at risk. Working with over 17,000 children in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir, Nalandaway has helped children to acquire life skills, build self confidence and express themselves creatively through practising various arts such as theatre, music, dance etc. Founded at the backdrop of the violent communal violence that took place in Gujarat in 2002, Nalandaway wishes to help these vulnerable children find their voice and conduct themselves with confidence.
Recently on the occasion of their 10th birthday, Nalandaway, staying true to its reputation, decided to celebrate it differently. They identified Selvi, a woman residing in Tamil Nadu with her family. She supports her family by cleaning various households, but her own house presented a shabby and dilapidated picture. Selvi’s granddaughter, like every child, yearned for a splash of colours in her life. The children of Nalandaway, who have been a part of the art program of the foundation, got together and fulfil Selvi’s granddaughters dream. Soon, Selvi’s house brightened up with flowers, butterflies, rainbows and mostly, a very happy child’s joy.
We often think that when we work with these children that we are doing something highly altruistic – perhaps in some way we are. What we forget, however, is that it is our duty as a responsible civil society to make sure that every vulnerable child in this society gets equal opportunities. If we do even fraction of that duty towards them, what they are capable of doing in return far outshines any meagre altruism. They are capable of filling this world with the purest form of happiness – Selvi’s daughter is a living testimony to that!