Making the Kids Smile
Soroptimist International Club of Dhaka is a chartered club of professional women involved in voluntary community services for the less advantaged women and children in areas of health and education. As this year marks 25 years of its charter, the Club organised a picnic for the children as part of their celebrations.
Some days are simply memorable. Saturday, 5 April, 2008 was such a day not only for the 28 students and two teachers of the Literacy Centre, but also for the members of Soroptimist International Club of Dhaka who run the two-hours a day Centre in Nayatola, Maghbazar for the chidren of low-income families living in that area. A trip to the Nandan Park in Ashulia was organised by the Club a first such event in the history of the Centre which was started some twenty years ago. Thus it was a big day for all concerned.
The students of Class 1 and 2 were asked to gather at the Shah Noori Girls' High School, where our pre-primary education programme is conducted after the regular school hours. The children waited patiently, clad in their blue-and-white- checked uniforms, for the bus to come and whisk them away to the place of their dreams the Nandan Park. They could not believe their good luck. As commented by Raju of Class 2 on the way back, “Ai prothom Nandan Parkay esheycchi…Baba gorib, tai kokhono ashtay parini…” the trip was something they thought they could only dream about but not experience in real life. The bus ride itself was a first time experience for most of the students. They gaped in awe at the traffic jam, the tall buildings, the passing scenery. Finally, after an hour and a half's drive, they spotted their dream world- the fun-world that is Nandan Park. In spite of their excitement, they filed out of the bus one by one in a disciplined manner, and followed the instructions of the two delightful and able volunteers, Quamruz Zaman and Nazmul Huda (students of Presidency University) who accompanied us and helped us manage the students.
Despite the scorching heat and glare of an unusually unfriendly sun, the children's enthusiasm was in full swing. They hopped from one ride to the other, squealed and screamed at the top of their voices, splashed and frolicked in the water-world to their hearts' content. It was so gratifying to see these under-priveleged children enjoy the fun-world which is beyond their reach under normal circumstances. Thanks to the Nandan Park Management who made the entrance and rides free, our children of Literacy Centre could also get a taste of the wonderful world created for the privileged few. Our Club provided the packed lunch of polao-beef curry, potato-chop, salad and bottled water. It was a real treat for them. For the members of the club it was a gratifying experience to know that know that in their own small way they had brought joy and laughter to these children, even if it was for a day.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008