When your passion becomes a profession and you help brands make money, sometimes you sit back and think about those less fortunate who could be helped with your acquired skills. This first long weekend in the new year, due to our Republic day, we got an opportunity from Connect for to volunteer as photographers for a NGO, St Jude child care which helps people, whose children are afflicted with cancer, being treated at Tata Memorial hospital Parel, and without a place to stay in Mumbai, as cancer treatments are expensive and prolonged. Bombay Port Trust has tied up with St Jude’s for their CSR activities wherein the entire place at Sewri has been graciously allowed to host these parents and children who come from all corners of India. They stay in separate units and the children are taught by specially trained teachers who encourage them to recite poems, play with other kids, interact with outsiders and help build their confidence and at the same time forget that they are fighting a dreaded disease
Republic day 2018
Today there was a debate for parents where half of them were supporting books while the others justified the use of mobiles. There were no prejudices, no North or South Indian, only Indians under one roof, coming together with a common purpose, to help their children fight cancer and get their life back. The debate was presided over by Ms. Deepa Shyam Sundar, and we were pleased to see interaction between the parents where some were defending mobile as a necessity while others were contesting that prolonged use causes cancer. Surprisingly, there was no language barrier and some were translating for those who didn’t know the local language. Secondly a woman from Bihar, where women are generally not allowed to speak out, gave her opinion on the benefit of the use of books for her child and another woman from rural Maharashtra giving an example of how she molds a clay pot and mentioned that our children can be molded into better adults in a similar way by reading books and using technology. One of the parents mentioned that the cancer progress report is first written on paper and then checked on mobiles by the concerned parents, hence paper and technology together was used to get their child’s test results online faster. One of the children suggested that if parents give up the use of mobile, then they would too. This brought a smile on everyone’s face. The event concluded by children singing the national anthem and you could see the pride in everybody’s eyes, the children and their Parents who stood together as Indians brought together by a common cause.
Skills and Emotions
Some days you live for others, and this was one of those days and it filled me with pride that my skills could be utilized to convey the expressions and emotions of these children and their parents. I wish St Jude’s all the best in their efforts and hope that me and my friends , can help them in similar ways in the future. Friends like Ankit, Malay, Dipen, Ruskin with his wife and of course my pillar of strength, my hubby Sandeep.