A school opened its doors to a group of underprivileged children from the neighbourhood to celebrate Diwali in the run-up to the festival.
Students from Indus Valley World School and children from a neighbourhood slum spent a few hours drawing a rangoli, lighting diyas, lighting crackers and interacting with each other on Thursday evening.
The idea is to help children from well-to-do families understand the importance of appreciating what they have, of sharing and understanding the struggles of others, said the school’s director.
In the past two years, schools could not hold any of these in-person activities. The school consciously invited children living in the locality to initiate community interaction.
“It is important to build awareness among our children who are extremely privileged that there is a world outside where children have almost nothing,” said Amita Prasad, director of the school.
“To celebrate a festival, one has to learn to give and share to make it joyful for others around them,” said Prasad.
It is not enough to give what they have but also give their time, said a teacher.
“It is particularly important to interact with each other in the context of the current times when children lead isolated lives and their world is their gadget,” said the teacher.
Fifty-five children between the ages of 4 and 10 came to the school and interacted mostly with Class VI students. Some of the visiting children were wide-eyed and were seen running around the campus.
There was spontaneous mingling when they held each other’s hands irrespective of their backgrounds.
“Each of the activities was collaborative,” said Prasad.
For Class VI student Rajanya Poddar, it was fun to paint with children from outside her school.
“They go to local schools and they were happy to see our school. We shared what we love to do. Two of them told me that they love to sing and draw,” she said.
For 10-year-old Jayashree Halder, whose father is a pandal maker, the best part about Thursday was lighting diyas and crackers. “I love the phuljhuris (sparklers),” said the Class IV student.
Class IX student Prisha Sanyal said: “Many of us complain that we do not have enough crackers or lights...but these children looked so satisfied and happy.”