The moment I walked into Harmony House for the first time, I knew this place was special. There were about 50+ kids outside in the garden who were sitting in stoic silence with their eyes closed following an instructed meditation session by one of the teachers. Despite being filled with 200+ kids in the 3-storey house, who I would later hear chattering away during lunch time, the place had an amazingly calm vibe to it.
Upon meeting Simi Ahuja, the main in-charge of Harmony House, I learnt more about what Harmony House was, its mission and all the great work the NGO has been doing for slum kids in the old Gurgaon area.
Harmony House is a charitable organization for street children in India. Established in 2009 by Lucy Bruce and Gaurav Sinha, they have been working hard to address and meet the needs of destitute children across education, nutrition, healthcare, vocational training, well being, planning and placement for employment and careers. Their vision is to serve children in need and provide them a refuge of hope and happiness that will elevate them to their truest potential. Hope & Happiness – those were definitely objectives that Socially Distant Cakes could get behind. I decided that Harmony House would be the first non-profit that we would partner with, for our cause.
We decided to bake cakes in various flavours and have a celebration for 200+ kids at one of the 4 shelter homes of Harmony House. The day we showed up with the cakes, it was a regular kind of day for the kids – most of them were in classes, learning everything from English, Maths, Science and Computers and had no clue that we were waiting with some special goodies for them in the break room. The staff at Harmony House including the teachers and helpers are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met in my life. Many of them have been working there for years and serving selflessly to make the lives of these street children better and more hopeful.
Once the classes broke for mid-day snack, the kids rushed into the common area to find us floating around with a whole bunch of boxes. Despite it being break time, none of the kids broke protocol and sat on their respective chairs silently in complete discipline. When we told them that we had come to share some yummy cakes with them, they seemed shy and did not respond. It was no surprise that they did not want to interact…given the kind of backgrounds these kids came from – poor, in some cases abusive, with never-enough-to-eat at home. It seemed difficult to engage with them at first, but as we flung open the boxes to reveal all the colourful cakes inside, we could suddenly see the glitter shining in their eyes and their lips trying hard to hide a curious smile. It was the same expression that any child would have felt had they accidentally entered a candy store.
Rather than just give the cake to the staff to cut and distribute, I decided that we would turn this moment into a celebration. Kids on each table got their own cake, were asked to vote and pick a representative for doing the “cutting” honours, as well as decide who would be the first one to taste it. As the kids received this independence, they got excited and started enjoying their cake cutting ceremonies while singing songs of fun and joy. There were many who turned to the good ol’ “Happy Birthday to you….” because that’s just what you do when there is a cake and knife involved, right? Before we knew, the entire room erupted into smiles & laughter that we were so eagerly waiting to see. The shyness was gone and suddenly, everyone was into party mode. There were demands to try the cake from the “other table” since it looked more colourful or more chocolatey. The satisfaction of eating something so yummy, gooey and tasty was plastered on the faces of all the kids and the whole room was in an uproar of celebration and enjoyment. The most coy of the kids were now showing victory signs and wanted pictures and selfies with our team for bringing this fun, joyous day in their life. Phew! Finally, we were able to get these kids to relax, forget the worries of home and family, enjoy the moment and for a while, just be who they are……kids!
What a phenomenal experience it was sharing cakes, smiles, laughter, songs and moments of pure happiness with these wonderful kids who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to be removed from the streets and be taken care of by this wonderful organization called Harmony House.
Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not about how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” that matters. So, next time you are getting ready to cut a cake to celebrate your birthday or a special occasion, I encourage you to share some with kids like those at Harmony House. The joy that you will receive by giving back will be exponentially more than what you feel when only celebrating with your loved ones.
If you would like for us to help celebrate your big day and share your joy with underdeveloped communities in Delhi NCR, please contact us at 9810804856.