the sari group

For the past three weeks Project why has again be touched by the magic of the SARI Kids. These are a bunch of young students from an ivy league business school in France. They come each year and spread their own brand of love to the children of project why for a whole month.

Sophie, Daphne, Justine, Yves, Ted and Simon landed in Delhi on a Tuesday morning and were all set to start their work the very same day. This time we were a little better organised and had made plans for them before their arrival. Two of the four would go to the women centre and live there, and the remaining four would work in our different centres. What never ceases to amaze him with these kids is the ease with which they slip into the role assigned to them. As if it was something they had done all their lives. Never mind the heat, the language barrier, the cultural differences they are here to conquer everything with their hearts.

But that is not all, this unique bunch of kids had spent the whole year raising funds for us. We were tickled to learn that Simon had even made chicken tikkas and mango lassi at the many sales they organised. Armed with their bounty of love they set out to work. This year it is Okhla, the creche and the prep class that are the chosen destinations. Nothing is too forbidding. Never mind the heat, the flies, the torrential rain or the spicy food, these kids mean business.

Within no time at all they have comfortably set into a pattern. Every week the duo that sets out for the women centre changes. Those who go to Okhla set out with the teachers and travel by bus to the centre. Soon bonds are created with the children and the staff and smiles and giggles abound. Plans are made. The bigger children will be taken to an outing this time to the planetarium. The smaller ones will go to a park.

But that is not all. Sophie the President of the association tells us that they would like to buy us things we may need. More plans are made. The women centre decide to spent the money of extending their class by making a new shed on the terrace. Other centres want books, toys, mats, plastic stools a cornucopia of things that would make everyone happy. So it's shopping time and we are again touched by the generosity of these very unique youngsters.

As I watch them go about their chosen tasks I cannot but wonder at what makes these kids from well to do homes and privileged lands take a whole month off their holidays to come and spread joy and love to a bunch of slum children in India? They do not have to do it, they chose to do so. Just a look at them is enough to know that they do so with their heart braving all the challenges that slum India throws at them each day. And as I watch them I wonder why youngsters of privileged India do not walk the same road. If that did happen things could be so different.

In less than a week the SARI kids will leave us and go their way. They will leave in our hearts an indelible mark and the comforting feeling that all is still well in our world.

God bless them.

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