Day 13: Aao, Khao, Jao!

The weather is going wild here! It started pouring yesterday and we had a bit of hailstone as well yesterday and today and I was up half the night going crazy thinking about how the kids and their families would be. So owing to bad weather and the fact that we work outside, we skipped school today and instead worked the “aao, jhao, jao” routine where we had the kids fed from the thela run by the nice lady from Nepal and her son. The duo are wonderful with the kids too (have I gushed about this earlier?). There was saag and rice and dal today, which I was so happy to see the brats eat something good!

Later clothes were given to the kids who needed them because many of them were shivering in the damp, cold air. We took the accommodation matter further today and after deciding on alternative routes for pursuing the matter of permanent housing for the migrant families, later also figured out a way to provide temporary shelter in the meantime.These details will be shared at a later time, when the plans are more concrete and final.

The children, we were happy to note were unhappy about the fact that there would be no classes and hopefully we can begin working on their curriculum and education more actively. Nutrition is being tended to though I would like more nutrition sources, including fruits and milk once we begin classes at the shelter. Monday and Tuesday have been decided as bath days, at least until we have a more stable routine.

What is heartening is that by engaging with their parents, we are now becoming familiar and trusted faces for the kids. We are yet to visit the Chuna Bhatta slums from where a lot of our kids come. We will also now begin to develop stories and educational games for the kids to teach them better.

Later in the evening at 8, we went back to the Astley Hall/Parade Ground area to see where the families are putting up for the night and we were accompanied by a wonderful person from Nijaat, which is an NGO here that is working in the area of de-addiction. We are hoping that one of the older boys among our bunch, who is severely addicted to solution can be helped by Nijaat through their program. Although we have kids as young as 5 or 6 years who are addicted to solution, Nijaat cannot work with them because it takes a different approach to tackle addiction among children. So while that is being looked into, Nijaat is coming in for the older boys.

Today’s post I realize is sans the usual ardour and zeal but that is only because I feel Street Smart is growing wiser! Barely a fortnight old, we have thankfully realized that focusing solely on education of the children is not sufficient. So we are taking small steps in all directions and areas that need attention and hopefully the tiny patters will create a holistic and conducive space for these kids to grow in! To end the post, here are a few photos that our photographer for the day, Naina took of the meal-time today!

The nice lady and her son who provide us lunch.

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