No, we are not referring to your beloved NGO above. We are talking about trying to continue what we do, even in these uncertain times – to touch lives.
At the time of writing this, it has been 64 days to the lockdown. That is, over two months without meeting our children, with a warm handshake or a hug full of love. Or an energetic high-five or fist-bump, that is sure to make your hand go red! We miss our daily meditations that brought us all together, evaporating all our worry; the games that made us feel alive; the carefree laughter and sharing of stories – both, healing and heartbreaking; ultimately, the learning centre and communities that felt like home, and sometimes a little more than home. While we can’t wait to experience this, all over again, we respect the time we are in.
Of course, we cannot immediately go back to our classrooms. Now, if children cannot come to the classrooms, we must take it to them! Technology feels like an old friend who has come to visit us, and we are great friends, once again. WhatsApp has been the bridge to our young friends, who do all the activities we send them, thrice a week. At 11am sharp, they are on their phones, looking forward to the activity-for-the-day. They very happily send them back to their ‘didis’ and ‘bhaiyyas’, who encourage them to continue with their enthusiasm. The excitement they feel during a video call is so evident with their bright, smiling faces. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we have been asked at least a hundred times, “Touching Lives wapas kab chalu hoga?” We have to admit, we feel a bit sad when we don’t have a date to give them.
The foundational values have been a strong pillar to lean on, because of which we have been able to function. Committing to ‘Seva’ relentlessly, by addressing the needs of the children and their families. This includes regular calls to both children, and their parents, to understand how they are feeling and reassuring them, or knowing if they have enough food for the family. The team has been in touch with other Good Samaritans (both individuals and NGOs), who have been providing daily ration to the children, in their communities. ‘Sadhna’ takes a whole new importance in this situation, as we are all in this together and must persevere to engage and continue with what we are doing. ‘Self-Work’, as part of a team in group meetings, or individual practices, has been our anchor of calm and quiet strength. Even the children contribute to this through their innocent practice of affirmations, healing and Ho’oponopono. That is how the seemingly impossible has been made possible!
Although we are currently separated in time and space, it has only made us realise why we do what we do. As it is said, distance makes the heart grow fonder. We are motivated to start again, with renewed energy. To connect a little better, to touch just one more life.
About the Author: Sameer Parmar is the mentor for Discovery class at Touching Lives Learning Centre.