Time Well Spent– A visit to The Harmony House (Gurgaon, India)
This Diwali we couldn’t have been more content. The combined efforts of my MP India colleagues resulted in a fabulous visit to Harmony House, a non-profit organisation in Gurgaon which provides a safe, fun, educational and loving environment for children and women living in the nearby slums. A big thanks to all the wonderful MP team for donating generously because we were able to collect a good amount of dry rations for these kids.
We began our day by meeting Ms. Harpriya, one of the leading ladies at the organisation. She warmly greeted us all and told us about the idea behind Harmony House and its founders. The centre was started with a small effort from a husband and wife, Mr. Gaurav Sinha and Ms. Lucy Bruce, who wanted to give something back to those in need. The Harmony House concept was born in December 2008 and it opened its doors in December 2009.
Ms. Harpriya took us on a small tour to the various classrooms and other facilities in the house, detailing how they take care of children from all ages of 0-16 years. Harmony House is spread within two centres in Gurgaon, nearby the slum area and schools and where children can easily travel to on foot. We began with a room full of children from the ages of 2-5 who were taking a nap after their lunch and before attending their next classes. We tried not to disturb them too much with their cute little sleepy faces!
Next, we met a few girls and boys who were having their lunch peacefully at the table and some on the floor, enjoying every bit of their food. Their faces were content and we felt a bit proud that we had been a part in helping all the kids in the House to get proper food and nutrition. We also met a few teachers and assistants who were cooking in the kitchen area for the next group of kids.
We then entered another classroom where kids were enjoying their playtime after lunch and were very happy to see us. We started off by asking them for any poems or jokes that they could recite and to our surprise almost every child in the room raised their hand in excitement. One boy stood up first and recited a poem on ‘Brushing your Teeth Everyday’, Then came a pretty little girl named Pooja, who was a star performer, reciting a poem on ‘Fish’, which we recited along with her and took us to our own childhood. We could feel the room full of positive energy and happiness, and this was reflected on the faces of the kids.
Moving to another room full of children of the ages 7-10, we entered a lesson and watched the kids giving answers to what their teacher was asking. We saw how everyone was so enthusiastic to give answers and, guess what, it was the Maths class! On asking what subject the children liked studying the most, every kid shouted ‘Maths’ as his or her answer! We took some photos with the students and left them with their teacher.
We learnt that the House relies on a mix of permanent and volunteer teachers like the one we had met during this Maths lesson. This teacher, we learned, had over 20 years of experience in teaching and is now happy to spread his knowledge to these underprivileged kids. We also learnt that the centre has a few permanent teachers, a Yoga teacher and some who come on an alternating volunteer basis to teach various subjects such as, Art and English. Ms. Harpriya told us that anyone can volunteer to help these kids by teaching or taking workshops, just by contacting them. Although the volunteering options were flexible, the one thing that was absolutely certain in the House was that every child was taken good care of, not just in their personal hygiene, by providing washing and dressing facilities, or in their education, by teaching children moral values, basic manners and advanced subjects like English, Hindi, Maths. This also extended to care of older students and women, offering sessions on Yoga, stitching, clay-molding and other opportunities for vocational training to help them in the pursuit of a good job. Finally, Harmony house also conducts regular health check-ups for the children, just like they had planned on the day we went.
All in all, Harmony House take cares of more than 450 children across its two centres, and it has been going from strength to strength, providing children in need with the provisions, opportunities and care that all children in this nation deserve.
We finished our tour in the playground, where we saw a group of children preparing to walk to their nearby evening school, and who gathered with me for a selfie! They were so excited, jumping around when they saw the camera, and it was a wonderful experience – or rather, the best selfie ever!
Saying goodbye to them, we finally thanked the entire team at Harmony House for giving us the opportunity to help them, and we congratulated them for the hard work that their volunteers and staff were doing for the kids.
When we finally got back in our car to return to the office, we couldn’t stop talking about the wonderful environment at Harmony House and the amazing time we spent with these kids. We all agreed that this was the best thing we had ever done and pledged to do the same more often. While we can sometimes complain about the smallest things in our lives and forget about how much we already have, instead we should learn from these little children, seeing how happy they are with whatever they have got, and we should feel blessed to get this one hand full of care.
Again, on the behalf of the whole makepositive family, we want to thank the whole team at Harmony House for doing so much for these children and providing each one of them with what they ‘at least’ deserve!
Thanks to everyone at MP India who contributed: Sanchit Kumar (Lead), Piyush Srivastav, Harpreet Bedi, Neha Arora, Ravindra Yadav, Abhilasha Dhamija and indirectly everyone else via donations!
Remember – even a little bit of help can make a BIG difference!
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See the story so far: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0gSaR82T3k