It is during the time of distress that we actually discover our inner strengths and perseverance that give us the energy to emerge winners from the worst of all situations.
Gone are the days when we used to eagerly wait for the monsoon season to dance and play in the rain. Rains have now become the prophet of destruction and devastation. This time, last year, Kerala faced one of the most dreadful natural calamities in its history. The flood that engulfed the entire state leaving precisely three districts with relatively less disfigurement, took hundreds of lives, displaced over lakhs, and destroyed the houses and agricultural lands of many. However, Kerala emerged as the symbol of resilience and bounced back like no one could have ever imagined. Just when the scars of the previous flood were healing, the flood waters have again washed away the northern parts of the state, making the wounds afresh.
But this is not the time to sit back and discuss the reasons that have led to yet another flood in our state. This is the time to help those thousands of people living in the relief camps. As the rains subsided a bit, relief operations are in full swing. Various organisations and collectives have taken up the responsibility to collect essential items and deliver them at various relief camps, especially in the northern parts of the state. One of the most astonishing gestures among the entire grown-up task is the enthusiasm and hard work shown by kids to do their bit in helping their fellow-beings to resume leading their normal lives. We have a number of examples to cite.
While some kids are actively working with organisations like Anbodu Kochi and Kai Korthu Kannur, some of them who are not able to contribute in terms of essential items are organising various events, the proceeds of which will be used for relief operations.
Explaining how she was taken aback, singer and an active volunteer of Kai Korthu Kannur Sayanora Philip says, “We were actually surprised when we saw children joining as volunteers to help collect and sort the items that were to be dispatched to the relief camps. Some kids have been working actively with us and it was an emotional moment when some of them came to us with water bottles and baby food that they had bought with the pocket money they had collected.
When we asked them why they were doing this, one of the kids told us that we should understand the pain and trauma of the people stuck in an unfortunate situation as it’s exactly like how we would have felt if we would have been there instead of them. I am grateful that our younger generation has the ability to understand the gravity of the situation and act accordingly.”
When the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) declared Mamangam studio as a collection point for essential goods that would be dispatched to relief camps, they had no idea about the extent of cooperation they would be receiving from children. Commenting on the same, actor, activist and a volunteer of WCC Sajitha Madathil says, “Children are actually showing us elders how to stay calm and come up with practical solutions to deal with a situation like this. Every parent who came to Mamangam to donate various items was accompanied by kids who were persuading them to donate more. Some children were also adamant and made sure their parents donate more.”
As far as children are concerned, pooling in money is a difficult task to accomplish. But Veni V. Sunil came up with a brilliant idea for this as well. The 7th standard student was discussing various possibilities to help the flood-affected people when she thought why not use her talent to raise funds. Being a trained classical dancer who has been doing stage shows, it was the best thing she could do. She, therefore, posted on the social media that she would do a dance programme , the proceeds of which could be used for relief operations. Veni’s mother Vineetha is happy that her daughter is living up to their expectations. “We have always taught our kids to help others. We used to celebrate their birthdays at orphanages and old age homes, which I feel has helped in creating a space for the needy in their hearts.” When Veni did not receive any enquiry of a programme, she along with her parents decided to organise a dance programme on their own, urging the people to contribute whatever they can so that they can raise a lump sum amount for flood relief.
All these kids are serving as examples to the adults and through their small but deep initiatives. They are proving that by not making the people in relief camps long for even basic needs and providing them friendly environment to live, good food to eat and clean water to drink, might not lessen the misery and trauma that flood has given them, but will surely give them a feeling that they are not alone in the time of distress....