A Cinderella story for Mumbai children

Inspired by the story of Cinderella, who attended a ball and returned with a unique shoe made just for her, RAC Jai Hind College, RID 3141, invited underprivileged children living in the slums of Jagruti Nagar in Mumbai to a party where they were given the chance to create colourful patterns on their new canvas shoes provided by the club. Along with providing new footwear “we wanted the children to feel special and unique, just like Cinderella. The joy on their faces, as they painted their shoes, was heartwarming,” smiles Khushi Shetty, club president.

A Rotaractor feeds a child who lives in the slums of Jagruti Nagar in Mumbai.
A Rotaractor feeds a child who lives in the slums of Jagruti Nagar in Mumbai.

The club collaborated with Gully Classes Foundation, an NGO that is closely working to develop this slum. “Once we had their shoe sizes, we zeroed down on stores that were selling the shoes at discounted price. We bought 37 pairs at ₹13,236 which was funded entirely by the club.”

The event was open to non-Rotaractors and the club collected a total of ₹2,100 as participation fee. “We used the collected funds for different projects we are carrying out in this slum,” says Khushi. The participants got to interact with the children, brainstorm to understand what kind of designs they wanted for their shoes and also help them paint.

Rotaractors discuss MHM topics with teenage girls living in the slums.
Rotaractors discuss MHM topics with teenage girls living in the slums.

The children were excited to unleash their creativity and “every pair had cartoon characters, flowers, starry night, and other themes painted on them. No two pairs looked the same,” smiles the club president. Once the painting was done the shoes were left to dry while the Rotaractors served the children snacks. The highlight of the event was the fashion show where the children walked the ramp flaunting their new shoes. The club invited the parents of these children to enjoy the show.

Adolescent girls attend an MHM awareness session organised by the club.
Adolescent girls attend an MHM awareness session organised by the club.
Painting a shoe for a child as part of Project Walk in Style.
Painting a shoe for a child as part of Project Walk in Style.

As a token of appreciation for the participants, the club made ‘thank you’ cards carrying the name and thumbprint of the child they helped. This project was “a team-building charity programme that let us tap our inner artists while giving the less privileged children a one-of-a-kind experience,” she says.

Club members ready to perform a street play.
Club members ready to perform a street play.

As part of their ‘Silent Saturdays’ initiative, the club carried out silent acts of charity throughout the month of November. They created awareness on topics related to health, education, hunger and safety. Every week, they held street plays and donation drives to distribute different items like first aid boxes and hygiene kits, educational kits, tiffin boxes, water bottles, meals, sanitary napkins and blankets. “We distributed close to 250 blankets out of which 50 were sponsored by our parent club,” says Khushi. Her club was successful in supporting and impacting more than 5,000 people living in the Jagruti Nagar slum, she adds. They have so far spent close to ₹70,000 for this project.

A child walks the ramp in her newly designed shoes.
A child walks the ramp in her newly designed shoes.

Talking about raising funds, she says that, “we ask our parents, go door-to-door in our apartment complex and circulate fund requests on social media. We are able to raise decent amounts for our project. Plus, our parent club — RC Bombay — is always ready to help us.”

A child enjoying a sweet.
A child enjoying a sweet.

In order to improve the infrastructure of the Dharamveer Sambaji Vidyalaya, a school for the underprivileged in Vikhroli, Mumbai, the club provided it with 50 tube lights and 28 ceiling fans.

The club also conducted a two-day sanitary pad donation drive under its ‘I am for HER’ project, which emphasised the importance of menstrual care, tracking monthly period cycle, and the use of sanitary napkins to teenage girls living in the slums. With the help of the Paddling Foundation, Mumbai, the club supported 250 women across Mumbai by donating over 4,500 sanitary napkins.

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