Mumbai: With the pandemic having played havoc with lives and lifestyles, each domain has been extensively impacted, including education, the disruption of which has severely impeded the holistic development of children and youth. Many steps have been undertaken, in the meantime, to prevent the disruption of education, including a focus on non-curricular activities essential for wholesome development, and also mental wellbeing.
SOS Children’s Villages of India is India’s largest self-implementing NGO in the domain of childcare and has been extending a basket of care solutions to vulnerable children and communities for over five decades. Keeping in mind the challenges COVID-19 has posed, a number of initiatives have been undertaken by the NGO to minimise the negative and long-term impact this pandemic has had on the most vulnerable sections of society. One such initiative has been e-Tarang, which stems from the on-site Tarang festival that was held in previous years before COVID-19 struck.
Tarang serves as a platform for children to showcase their abilities, creativity and skills to a wide audience, learning, sharing and growing in the bargain. Each year, Tarang, and for two years, e-Tarang, has had something unique to offer.
E-Tarang 2021 not only saw the enthusiastic and motivated participation of Mothers, children and co-workers of SOS Children’s Villages of India but also the sharing of personal journeys and messages pertaining to the festival. The ‘APJ Abdul Kalam oath’, taken by children, reiterated the commitment towards building a more inclusive and progressive nation. What also caught attention was the unique way in which talented children from Children’s Villages Khajuri Kalan ‘sang’ the National Anthem in their very distinct way. These children, who are specially-abled, presented the Anthem through sign language, dressed in outfits that showcased the colours of the Indian national flag. Besides the quizzes, song/ dance competitions, and extempore speeches, the science projects exhibition highlighted some innovative ideas, among which was a possible solution for preventing oil spillage into water bodies, thereby safeguarding the environment.
This festival of joy and creativity also welcomes special guests, including dignitaries from all walks of life. This time, Bollywood star, Sanjana Sanghi, left a heartwarming message for the children, wishing them all the best and saluting the creative spirit.
Commenting on e-Tarang, Sumanta Kar, Secretary-General, SOS Children’s Villages of India said: “E-Tarang is the virtual version of Tarang, which the pandemic had led to. However, this did not dampen the spirits of the children, Mothers and coworkers in any way, which was very reassuring to notice. The spectrum of competitions, and the creative spirit that was ignited therefrom, served as motivation for all those taking part and organising. The programme was also streamed on our Facebook handle with the objective of expanding the reach even further. Such events are vital to encourage the wellbeing of children, especially in challenging times such as currently.”
SOS Children’s Villages of India is currently serving more than 30,000 children through its 32 Villages, located across 22 States/Union Territories.