A different Christmas!

Written by Harsh Jegadeesan on 11:31 AM

Christmas this year was different! My wife Gayatri, her sister Sindhu (currently on her vacation) and I decided to celebrate Christmas and share our plum cakes with the kids in the SOS Children's village of India in Bangalore. The children's village, which is a part of SOS Kinderdorf International, provides a home, a mother, a brother and sister to young abandoned and orphaned children.

The SOS children's village in Bangalore, located on Bannerghatta road is a green 6-acre campus. The village has 16 homes with 8 - 10 children aged between 3 - 14 yrs along with their adopted mother. Each child is put through school and / or is given vocational training to provide skills for a sustainable future.

At 11.00 AM, we met one of the resident staffs of the village, Vinay. Vinay, who holds a master's in social work, started working with the village 5-months back. Vinay explained to us the concept of the SOS village and took us to Chetna - a home where Christmas was celebrated. This year the celebrations was low key to mourn the recent demise of their president - J N Kaul. Vinay knows all the kids by their names, and that reflects the warmth the kids receive in the village. We got introduced to the kids and we met the mother of the home, Shantamma. I bought a small basketball for the kids and I got to dribble a bit with them. We then shared our plum cakes with the kids and got to interact with them a bit more.

In Chetna, we met Roslyn, a former member of the house who came to the village as a toddler. Roslyn now has a university degree and works with a HR consulting firm in Bangalore. She was there to spend the Christmas with her family. We also met Arvind, the facilities manager of the village. Arvind told us that he was from a SOS village in Assam. After getting a polytechnic certificate in plumbing and electricals and working for a decade in Orissa, he has now come back to his home, to try to give back in his own way.

The stories of Roslyn and Arvind overwhelmed us. We have now decided to adopt this home in the SOS village, go there every Sunday to teach maths and english to the children. I have also decided to setup a computer center to teach basic computer skills to the children.

Currently the kids speak the local language, Kannada. Since we do not speak Kannada, we are a bit nervous, hopefully we will learn some Kannada as we go! If you are in Bangalore and would like to spend 1-hr (3.00 - 4.00 PM) of your Sunday with the young children teaching and playing with them, you are welcome to join us. You can send me an email.

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