Geetanjali Chopra On Celebrating Holi With Visually Impaired Children

celebrating holi with visually impaired children

For most of us, Holi is associated with vibrant pinks, reds, purples, and blues. Known as the festival of colors all over the world, it is the time when people of all communities and ages come together to play with vibrant colors.

But can you visualize Holi being played by visually impaired children? These children are not blessed with the sense of sight like the rest of us. Their eyes are blanketed by a grey smog, preventing them from seeing the wondrous sights the world has to offer. Yet why should they miss out on the immersive experience of Holi? Such happiness should not be denied to anyone, should it?

I have always believed that everyone deserves a shot at happiness. My family made sure to inculcate charitable values in me from a very young age, and always encouraged me to celebrate all festivals with the lesser privileged.

While I never liked celebrating Holi, the Holi of 2014 changed my life forever.

On one of my regular visits to a school for visually impaired children, I asked the kids if they wanted anything. A young girl spoke up and said, “Didi, we want to play Holi!” I could not think of a way to help these children play Holi, but I was determined to fulfill their wish.

All it took was a quick email to my colleagues at the Centre for Policy Research, asking for help and advice as to how to go about this near-impossible task. To my surprise, funds started pouring in along with kudos and blessings. That Holi was one of the most memorable moments in my life. The impossible became possible when 100 visually impaired children celebrated Holi with pichkaris and gulaal, and most importantly, lots of fun!

The happiness that the children felt was infectious and I felt unadulterated bliss. It was then that I decided that I wanted to work towards bringing color and happiness into the lives of those who need it the most.

That day, I decided to formally start working for children and adults who have unfulfilled wishes, for people whose dreams are yet to be fulfilled. And so on April 25, 2014, our NGO Wishes and Blessings was born with the aim to help whoever needed help – irrespective of age, class, gender, and community.

Holi is now one of the most important festivals celebrated by everyone at Wishes and Blessings. Our children eagerly wait for Holi and start counting the days as March begins. On D-Day, a group of staff members, volunteers, donors, and well-wishers reach the school for visually impaired children early in the morning. The children run and greet us with a loud ‘Namaste!’ and after hugging everyone, the fun begins!

All the good, well-behaved children turn into naughty kids who are ready to splash some color on anyone and everyone present. Their energy is endless and lasts long after the colors are all gone.

We started just by celebrating Holi, and today this festival has become an integral part of our NGO. As our organization celebrates its fifth birthday this year, the Holi of 2019 is guaranteed to be bigger, better and more colorful than ever.

Wishes and Blessings is a Delhi-based NGO and acts as a platform to link donors and beneficiaries. The idea behind the organization is simple – there are those who have unfulfilled wishes, and there are those who can fulfill these wishes. The NGO works to make dreams come true, and works towards meeting the ultimate goal – spreading happiness. 

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