When Samadrita Mukherjee of Class XI entered Anandaghar, a shelter home for HIV-positive children, her eyes welled up.
The positivity in the ambience and warm smiles of the children, as the latter had received their gifts, left her emotional.
She was not the only one.
Forty students of South Point High School had a new learning experience as they took part in a charity drive on September 21 and 23.
The school ushered in the festive season by gifting clothes to the less fortunate members of society. Many students contributed a portion of their pocket money to the drive.
Some also tried to earn a little for charity, by doing some household chores. Following the collection of funds, students of Classes XI and XII visited 18 NGOs, care facilities, shelters and old age homes armed with gifts of new clothes.
“I visited Anandaghar, Apanjan and Mahila Seva Samity. I interacted with specially-abled and HIV-positive young adults and children there. I found so many people cheerful despite all the difficulties in their path,” Samadrita said.
From life lessons on empathy to getting a glimpse of the ground realities, the students learnt a lot through these field visits.
“The experience left me emotional. I saw how difficult life is for some people. The initiative made me realise that it’s not enough to just feel sorry and contribute towards occasional charity. I have decided to make social service a part of my life,” said Debsoumayan Saha of Class XI.
The students were accompanied by teachers during the trip.
They reached there on the school bus and in cars.
“The elderly residents of the All Women’s Union Old Age Home at Elliot Road greeted us with warm smiles and treated us with the same amount of love and care as our grandparents. They even shared details of their lives. I was delighted to see their happy faces before we left,” said Class XI student Tamoha Mukhopadhyay.
The students and teachers touched the lives of over 1,000 people. They also bought clothes for some rickshaw pullers. The young philanthropists were involved in the entire process — from size sorting to the packaging of products.
“We packed dresses for young girls and dhotis and saris for adults. We marked each packet,” said Anusree Das of Class XI.
“Our senior students gave up a portion of their pocket money. The younger ones were instructed to work for it rather than ask their parents to contribute. Hopefully, they learnt the lesson of sharing through the drive,” said principal Rupa Sanyal Bhattacharjee.