Children’s Hope Buzz – Winter Wine and Wishes
“I wish that my family could pay our electricity bill because I would really like to study in the evenings but I can’t. Also, every morning I wake up with 5 new mosquito bites and I don’t like it.” – Laxmi, 8
“I wish that we had more computers because I love computer class but I get impatient having to wait my turn!”- Mansi, 13
“I wish that I could go for driver training. I LOVE cars and everything mechanical.” – Jeetu, 16.
Meet Laxmi, Mansi, Jeetu – real children with modest dreams living in the rough and tumble of slum dwellings in Nallasopora, Mumbai. All of them are part of Ek Asha, a program funded by Children’s Hope in partnership with One International.
Recently 35 children voiced their innermost wishes and Children’s Hope gathered its supporters and donors at Winter, Wine and Wishes, an event which was held at Saffronart Space in the Fuller Building in Manhattan on February 28, 2013.
These wishes ranging from $25 to $200 were displayed throughout the gallery space to raise awareness and support. Over 100 young professionals turned up for this event, raising $6500 and making all the wishes a reality for these children.
Guests enjoyed a fun evening with wine provided by Sam Bhatia of Sufi Wines, 1947 beer by Suhel Jagtiani and Indian appetizers by Spice Symphony, co-ordinated by Artistic Affairs. British guitarist Aaron Short played acoustic music, adding energy and a festive feel to the party. Live music is a treat, especially in an art space, surrounded by beautiful art. Anu Nanavati Chaddha of Saffronart introduced guests to Indian contemporary art.
All Photos by Juhi Desai
While guests enjoyed the joys of art, music and networking, the evening also had a happy ending for the children of Ek Asha.
For Laxmi, $25 donation got her a gift of 3 months worth of electricity so she could study in the evening; $100 got Jeetu the driving training which would help him to get a vocation and a wage; $200 got Mansi more time in the computer lab set up in the slum because it will buy one more notebook for the scanty resources at Ek Asha.
Priyanka, 16, received the $50 her private school was demanding as ‘fees’. She wrote
“I wish that my family had enough money to pay the fees that the private school is asking me to pay or else I won’t be able to write my Grade 10 exams. The government law is that it should be free, so why is my family’s poverty stopping me from attaining my dreams?”
Yet another student Ashok, 20, also had his dream fulfilled. He himself was a student at Ek Asha for 12 years and is now a student teacher there. He had written to Children’s Hope: “I wish that we had proper gym equipment so that I can excite the teenage boys about things other than gambling and roaming the streets like I did when I was their age.”
Well, $150 would buy dumbbells, a bar and a bench for this slum project and supporters generously funded this wish.
The 100 Wishes Campaign
“The Winter, Wine and Wishes event was a wonderful opportunity to support a child and meet some fantastic people in NYC,” said Sunaina Sen, CH’s social media evangelist. It was a remarkable experience to read the wishes on the main wall and grasp the impact one could have on a child’s life by making a small donation. It was one of those surreal moments when you realize that you could be helping someone achieve their dreams. A truly wonderful event at a great location.”
This is just the start of the 100 Wishes Campaign, an online drive which will make a reality of our children’s dreams and aspirations. Link to donate: http://www.childrenshopeindia.org/how-you-can-help/
“Being a mother of two myself, I can well relate to the challenges of raising a family in these times. But the challenges these children face are exponentially greater than what we envision when we think ‘dire poverty’, ” said Aditi Gugnani Malhotra, one of the CH organizers.
“The fact that $25 is worth three months of electricity is a huge reality check; my sons handed over their allowance when they saw me typing up a poster. It certainly puts a damper on your reflex to buy iTunes, as you could just as easily go to www.childrenshopeindia.org and buy electricity for Laxmi.”