On December 22nd, Made by Survivors organized an excursion for the shelter home girls in appreciation of their hard work and dedication throughout the year. It was time to let them unwind and enjoy the spices of city life, an experience beyond their worlds.
The 13 girls were divided into 4 groups of 3 with one member from the Made by Survivors management guiding each group. Paul, Doel, Soma and I took charge to give the girls a day to remember in this festive Christmas season. I like to use the word ‘guided’ and not lead because here at Made by Survivors we thrive on the motto of helping each other and share our knowledge- there is no boss here. The day started with the girls glued to the television sets watching The Wizard of Oz. It was quite a heartwarming experience for me personally to see the girls captivated by the movie even though they did not understand the language.
Feelings and emotions rise above words and language and how I appreciate that fact so much more now having witnessed the girls watch an English movie with a wide grin and glittering eyes. Post the movie, we decided to go to South City mall. It was Christmas and given the common Bengali’s zeal for celebration during this time of the year, South City mall promised some extravagance and lively footfalls. Sure enough, the complex was brimming with life, more than on an ordinary day.
The decorations were ornate-Santa Claus, tufts of cotton hung from the ceiling to emulate the Christmas snow, chiming bells and a whole lot more. It had the girls awestruck and Christmas was indeed becoming merrier for them. We took the girls to Mainland China for a lunch buffet. Most of them have not had the privilege to dine in a high end restaurant reserved for the elite clientele. We wanted them to experience this side of life that day. They were quite surprised at the concept of “eat all you can”. It was quite a sight to see the girls dig in and enjoy their food like never before. I guess it makes me sentimental even as I write. I think it would have alleviated my hunger even if I did not eat that day just to see the joy in the faces of the girls. Lunch ended with some delicious food and some really mouthwatering desserts. It left me quite immobile but the girls were just full of energy. They were really enjoying themselves to the fullest. Our next stop was Timezone which is a gaming parlor in South City mall.
The girls like before were divided into groups. They were highly excited to see the parlour. Basket ball, bowling, car and bike racing were their favorites. Even the girls who are considered to be adults, behaved like kids craving to play more and more. Seeing their enthusiasm, even we participated in full swing! What I observed and liked about this girls is the team work that they have nurtured over the months. Each of them would give others a chance to play. When Anjali won a chocolate in one of the games, she immediately shared it with her friends confirming to the kind of togetherness that they share. To see themselves being in the same podium as the other kids, it really boosted up their self – confidence and self-respect. We ended the day with some fun chit chat and each group took the girls home in a cab. It was a day the girls found a new life….a lighter side of life. I have been to South City a gazillion times, but I don’t think I enjoyed myself with anyone else as I did with the girls on this day. It was a thoroughly enriching and unique experience. I feel lucky to have shared these moments with these girls who have not had the privilege of living the comfortable life.
P.S. Special thanks to Paul who planned this entire day!! He is now known as Uncle Santa among the girls! :-)