The last weekend of February had the Pune office team up with volunteers from Credit Suisse for a visit to the Katraj Zoo with the children from Cochlea, an NGO working with the hearing impaired.
The activity started as planned around 9:45am. Credit Suisse volunteers helped with the purchase of the tickets and leading the kids inside the zoo. The activity started with distribution of snacks and a brief introduction to Concern India Foundation and Cochlea. The Principal of the preschool sensitized the volunteers about the children and ways to interact with the children. Stress was laid on using language and gestures rather than sign language for communication. The children were paired up with volunteers for the day. They first went on a tram ride around the park followed by a walk around the snake park. The volunteers and the children alike had fun trying to keep pace with each other in the zoo, looking at the animals, trying to communicate with each other explaining what they were seeing. There was a quick round of Charades where the volunteers imitated some of the animals and had the children identify them. The day ended with lunch and distribution of return gifts. The volunteers were very proactive in clearing the place and separating the plastic, which was taken for recycling.
Interactions like this not only give the children a sense of normalcy but also help develop their vocabulary. It enhances their language and speech capabilities, thereby accelerating their integration into the normal schools. This is exactly in alignment with Cochlea’s vision.
In honour of Women’s Day on March 8th 2016, we participated in a number of campaigns across the country.
In Delhi, we joined hands with Cadence at their office for a fundraising drive to salute and celebrate womanhood, and support the education of the girl child.
It was essentially a pledge-raising activity in order to sensitize people to the importance of education and empowerment for a girl child. It was also an effort to disseminate to everyone present that women’s rights are human rights, something that should be respected regardless of gender, age, race or religion.
The I-pledgers that contributed towards the cause were asked to leave a message on the Wish Tree.
In Mumbai, we partnered with The Table whereby all proceeds from a select few tables were donated to Concern India Foundation in support of women’s empowerment programmes. A similar campaign was being run at Jean-Claude Biguine Salon & Spas across the city, where customers were given the chance to donate at the spa itself in support of these programmes.
For far too long, women have been treated as second-class citizens. There is simply no justification for this, and it is time to break down the barriers standing in our way.
It is no easy feat, but as long as we all do our part, change is inevitable.
The weekend before Christmas had our Pune team busy with multiple events in the city.
‘Light Up Lives’, a talent show for children with disabilities, was conducted at Nehru Memorial Hall on December 17th. Duet and group singing, mimicry and instrumental music were a part of the programme that day. Approximately 40 visually impaired and autistic children gave a heart-rending performance, leaving spectators teary-eyed.
Parents at the venue were appreciative of the platform their children were given to showcase their talents by Concern India Foundation, voicing their hopes that the event would be a regular feature. Volunteers from Credit Suisse played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of the event, HGTS and Roma Guards Force were instrumental in their support as venue and trophy sponsors, respectively. An individual donor provided snacks for the event.
December 18th saw 350 children from Emmanuel Public School attended ‘Gesture of Love’, a Christmas party supported by Redstone Summer Hill. Activities included a puppet show, carol singing by the students, and fun games organised by Barclays volunteers. The children were regaled with funny stories, dances and music, while Santa spread the cheer by treating them to chocolates, juice and snacks.
All in all, it was a weekend well spent with children and volunteers across the city.
– Pune team, Concern India Foundation