Hi there! Today's post is going to be very different from what we usually post. In a good way of course. Before I start with the post, I'll first introduce myself briefly. My name is Karishma Kaul, and I am a digital marketing intern from Norway at My Plush Toy.
A few days ago, Chaitanya, the founder & CEO of the company, and I was discussing how we wanted all children to feel the joy of playing with quality toys irrespective of their economical background. He then gave me the idea of going to an NGO that supports underprivileged kids - such as an orphanage, trust, or foundation, and give away plushies. I thought that was a great idea, so I started doing some research around the area in the quest of spreading joy and helping others.
After a few phone calls, I found a place that seemed like the perfect fit for donating stuffed toys. Sampark; a non-profit organization that empowers extremely vulnerable women and children across Karnataka, India and help them achieve a better quality of life through education and self-reliance. I fixed an appointment with Prameela V., who manages the urban projects of Sampark which helps empower over 10,000 urban migrant workers.
The next day, I went to Sampark´s HQ with a huge bag of 35 stuffed toys, some of them being construction equipment, a red sedan car, some alphabets, animals, etc. Prameela introduced me to one of the teachers, who took me to the camp where all the children were.
The lovely teacher and I took an Uber to the area, and then we had to walk a bit because the cars could not get there, which was a bit challenging considering the bag of plushies.
When we arrived at one of Sampark´s 40 camps around Karnataka, India. I could see a daycare-house, where the children learn to draw and make artwork while their parents are at work, as none of the parents can afford to stay at home to take care of their kids. Around the daycare house, they have small cottages made for each family where the parents stay with their children. Between Monday-Friday the children go to a government school nearby.
When I walked inside the daycare-house I could see a lot of curious and happy children waving at me. For me, it was a bit overwhelming in the beginning to see how happy these kids were compared to how their facilities were. But after engaging with them, learning their names and favorite colors, I managed to discover that these kids are no different than other kids around the world when it comes to needs and hobbies. Everyone enjoyed drawing, singing and playing with stuffed toys.
To communicate with the children, the teacher there had to translate from English to Kannada (the regional language of Karnataka) for me. She started by introducing My Plush Toy and me to them. Then she explained to them that I was there to give them stuffed toys and spend some time with them - and I could see their smiles growing even more, and their eyes sparkling.
After that I started by opening the Santa bag and explained the different toys, and then emptied all the stuffed toys from the bag on the carpet.
Everyone got a toy, and that made the kids really happy. Here are a few photos of the children playing with their stuffed toys.
After a while, I took a big sheet of paper and the kids took a colored crayon and started drawing which let their creativity flow. We were drawing together for an hour or so.
When we were done with creating artwork and playing, we had a fun photoshoot at the end.
The kids made this amazing art for us!
This experience really changed my perception of life, and children. I must admit that as a kid, I got everything I wanted from my parents. But seeing these children finding so much happiness in plush toys and creating art, did something to me. I have now become less materialistic, and more conscious about not letting any food go to waste. My Plush Toy will keep contact with Sampark, and I will for sure go back and spend more time with these children.
Every kid has the right to enjoy his/her childhood, irrespective of his/her economical background.
Please visit www.sampark.org, and support.