From Roadside Romeo to XLR8, a fun day for kids

Nearly 400 under-privileged children in Bengaluru had a special day on 14th November 2008, Children’s Day. The children belonged to Sishu Mandir, Sri Satya Shanti Seva, Bethel Home, Leela School, Gerizim Rehab hostel, Lovedale foundation and a few others.

A soccer session in progress

A soccer session in progress. Pic: Jamshed Billimoria.

The day’s event included a special showing of the movie Roadside Romeo at Cauvery Theatre at 8.30 AM. The film distributor, Ajay Chandani and the owner of the theatre, Prakash, donated the movie tickets for free (500 seats). This was followed by fun and games at the XLR8 indoor sports arena on Hennur-Bagalur Main Road, Kothanur, north Bangalore.

The day-long affair was organised by Family Services(FS), a Bangalore-based non-profit voluntary organisation. The children were from institutions that FS works with throughout the year. FS is comprised of individuals and families working for the poor, suffering and otherwise disadvantaged. FS commemorates Children’s Day every year by hosting a mela or a special event for under privileged children. FS is part of an India-wide network called The Family India.

Children's day

Pic: Julia

On the morning of 14th November 2008, buses with children arrived at the Cauvery theatre between 7.45 and 8.00 AM. The volunteers (whom we had invited earlier) showed up by 7.20 AM. We instructed them and assigned each volunteer four children for the day. We tagged the children with different coloured ribbons in groups of 20 and seated them in the theatre by 8.25 AM.

Volunteers came from all walks of life. There were college students, business people, doctors, and photographers (Indian as well as two international photographers).

After the movie, the kids moved to the XLR-8 sports arena. All of them got a chance to play carnival games and ‘win’ small gifts at each stall. In any case, it was a win-win event as every child won. In addition to football and cricket in the XLR-8 indoor sports arena, many children had a lot of fun dancing to songs joined along with volunteers of all ages.

The organising did not go unnoticed. Sanjay, from Lovedale Institution, one of the local organisations whose kids took part, wrote in and pointedly expressed his appreciation. "A few good things which I had noticed during the event are : 1. Punctuality about time – all your volunteers were present on time (rarely experienced in Bangalore). 2. All your activities started and finished on time as per plan", he wrote.

Children's day

Pic: Julia

Leela Palace, one of Bangalore’s 5-star hotels, sponsored the lunch. Daily Bread and Britannia provided cakes, and Top Ramen donated 3 packs of noodles to each child, and more.

The children chorused a warm “thank you” at the end of the day.

It is our hope that through this and similar events, the children feel loved, cared for and special. In addition to offering a refreshing change in the volunteers’ lives, these events provide an opportunity to many Bangaloreans – such as those in the corporate sector to help with the children.

It does not stop there. Throughout the year, companies or individuals who want to do something charitable for birthdays or other occasions approach us to identify an institution for them. We are happy to forge a connection between them and one of our many needy institutions and even help organise events with them.

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