Thursday, 20 November 2014

Overwhelming love..

(Children's Day, 14.11.2014 Thiruvallur, India)
So far, humanitarian and journalism work has to be my favourite things to do in life. I find them both to be compelling and fulfilling. Being a humanitarian is an incredible opportunity to contribute, even in a small way, to improving the lives of those born less fortunate. Yet it also offers individuals the opportunity to learn from these amazing people who are so inspiring. The most rewarding part of being in Thiruvalangadu village is spending time with the children.When we organise events and after school lessons in Restless Development's Youth Resource Center, kids from around the village attend and I just love seeing the smile on their faces.  

I was lucky enough to celebrate Children’s Day in India with the kids in our village. This day in Hindi is known as ‘Bal Diwas’. In India it falls on November 14th every year and for good reason;  it is Pandit Nehru’s birthday. It is a day of fun and frolic - a celebration of childhood, children and Nehruji’s love for them. When India gained independence, he became the first Prime Minister of free India. As tribute to this great man and his love for the children, his birthday is celebrated all over India as Children’s Day.

We were invited to our local school in the village to join the kids and the teachers to celebrate this phenomenal day. The kids looked adorable, some of them were wearing formal all white attire. It felt satisfying helping the teachers who were conducting competitions, telling stories and giving awards to the children. During this day, I genuinely could not stop smiling; I received overwhelming love from the kids. 

(Narthavada Village, India. 20.11.2014)
(Children's Day, 14.11.2014. Palayanur Village, India)
(Children's Day, 14.11.2014 Thiruvallur, India)
(World Toilet day, Thiruvalangadu Government school. India 19.11.2014)
(Children's Day, 14.11.2014. Palayanur Village, India)
(Children's Day, 14.11.2014. Private School , Manavur, India)

Celebrating Children’s Day with the Indian kids was divine and extraordinary, but my mind was with my sisters and brothers in Somalia. Somali women and children have been living in the harshest of conditions for over two decades. Unfortunately, my country is one of the hardest places on earth to be a child; there are many serious obstacles for children to overcome. Recently, Somalia saw a positive movement in terms of politics, humanitarian access and food security. However, despite these developments, the majority of children continue to suffer some of the most of severe vulnerabilities and deprivations in the world. Fundraising for different charities that have a base in Somalia is part of my way of helping the children. (ilaahey ha caawi dadkeena iyo dalkeena). 

Indian Hospitality

(Arun's Mum, Thiruvallur Town, India 14.11.2014)

One of the most defining characteristics of Indian culture is hospitality. We have been lucky enough to have been invited into the homes of national volunteers on our team. Getting an invitation to someone's house is common in India, so do not appear to be taken aback or surprised: accept the invitation cordially. We made our way to Arun's house on Friday night after work around 5pm. We were all excited to go to his house and meet his family. In India, revealing clothes and exposed skin are frowned upon and will make everyone in the house uncomfortable. Since we all wanted to make a great impression on Arun's family, all the girls dressed conservatively.


 (Arun's home, Thiruvallur Town, India 14.11.2014)

Just like a Somali home, in India, footwear and feet are considered dirty. In most homes, footwear is taken off outside the main door and the house is entered barefoot. Before going in the house, we respectfully left our shoes outside. Arun's charming mum was waiting to greet and welcome us into her stunning home. I was ready to shake her hand but she gave me a big hug. India is still a very conservative nation but hugging and kissing are slowing becoming common practices. We all enjoyed the vegetarian food and ended the night with songs and of course Chai tea. (Halal food for Ladan, yummy). Overall, I must say that Indian hospitality is legendary and once again I was honoured to spend time with these lovely people.

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Ladan Takow

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