Two centers, one company, MAD and a high-impact day!

Well they should’ve called it HIGH IMPACT DAY !!!!

The chief protagonists …

MAD and Deloitte Impact Day : A celebration of Deloitte’s global commitment to giving. A day when every single Deloitte employee across the world tries to Make A Difference to the world around them.

Sannihita : Our partner, headed by Mrs. Usha Rani; an organization that is  doing such wonderful work in rescuing and rehabilitating street children at their Sannihita centres across Hyderabad.

You can’t ask for a better fit. Some matches are made in heaven and this was one of them and it was all thanks to Nikhil (a MADster from Kochi),  Aashish Malik (The project in-charge and the man of the moment)  and Mrs Usha Rani who kindly consented to the event and allowed our numerous requests.

Deloitte had set themselves quite an agenda and very high targets. The problem: parents who just did not understand the importance of educating their children and wanted their children to work. The target : ensuring every one of them walked away from the event convinced that their best possible path to prosperity lay in educating their children. And hence the event was aptly themed  “The right to education and education for all”.

The event was being held at two of the Sannihita centres, one for the boys and the other for the girls, and we had over a 100 children and some of the parents participate. The center authorities tried their best to get all the parents there, but owing to the reality of their situation some couldn’t come.

Minal Chouhan one of our newest MADsters, was at the boys centre and this is her account of what went down there.

“When I took up volunteering for this event, I did not think a parent would not want to educate his/her child. As I entered  the center with other MADsters , Deloitte employees greeted us and I could tell that they were looking forward to their ‘Make a Difference’ moment. We gathered all the kids into a room and started a fun-filled introduction session where the kids had to guess our age!

The children had prepared a song-and-dance performance and pulled us in. We sang rhymes, Telugu songs and danced along with the kids. Then, the general knowledge of the kids was tested with an interactive slide show. They were shown a short film on “Educating Ourselves”. We provided the kids with snacks and chocolates. Their parents joined us and we began to focus on our main agenda: to guide and advise them on why  educating their children is important.

In a separate room, the parents were seated with a few Deloitte employees, who spoke to them about the importance of education and listened to the difficulties and adversities the parents faced. When Shanthaamma said: ‘I want my son to feed me, not teach me,’ I was not sure I had heard right. It was also very shocking to see that every mother in the room had a similar opinion.

None of them could relate to what we were saying or could ever imagined that their kids could do something apart from labour.

To help them understand , Mr. Sheshu (A Deloitte volunteer) told them the story of  one of his colleagues who was brought up by a poor single yet devoted mother, and how he received proper education which helped him succeed in his life and work at a company like Deloitte.

The parents understood what education can do and were very inspired by the story. They all appreciated our concerns about the education of their children and promised to educate them without any hindrance. Though most parents were financially unstable, they had agreed to let their kids stay at the centre and receive education that would help them succeed.

At the end of this session, most of us were sure that these parents could dream ‘new dreams’ and one day see their kids work at a company like Deloitte, and  impart this very same knowledge to others.

While this room was filled with heated discussions and counselling, the next room was filled with joy and colours! A drawing competition for the kids, the best three drawings were to be put on Deloitte’s notice board. While most kids drew mountains, houses, cricket fields or made paper planes and boats, there was one kid sitting in the corner of the room drawing his centre (Sannitha Boys centre).

When asked why he drew it, he said: “This is my home and I like it very much.”

As the session wound up, and the mothers bid farewell to their kids, they asked them not to cry but goaded them to stay and study at the center and look forward to learning from the new didis and bhaiyas. Mr. Sreenivas, the guardian told us that he had never seen the mothers appreciate leaving the kids at the center without asking for a short leave nor the kids leaving their parents without crying.

To end this Deloitte’s Impact day, I’ll quote Helen Keller: “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.”

We were witnessing similar scenes at the Girls centre with one moment that was particularly heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. The counselling was done collectively at this centre and one of the mothers broke down and said that she wanted to see her daughter educated and successful in life and then magic happened (yes magic exists)  because after that we did not have to convince the mothers that educating their daughters was important, they convinced each other.

Talk about rip roaring success.

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