A fun day out for girls

Around 150 young girls were the centre of attraction at the VR Punjab Mall in Kharar as they shopped for new clothes to their heart’s content at one of the posh boutiques there. These children in the age group of 8–15 from an orphange were escorted to the mall by the members of RAC Chandigarh Himalayan, RID 3080, under the club’s project Choti si Khwaish. “It was heartwarming to watch their gleeful faces as they picked and tried on various garments. It was a magical two hours as their laughter echoed through the store,” says club president Prerna Kashyap.

Volunteers from RAC Chandigarh Himalayan with the girls at a cloth store in the mall.

This is the seventh edition of this annual project and every year the club extends this experience to 150 little girls housed in various NGOs. The children are escorted in a bus by the Rotaractors and a staff from the institution, and are gifted a whole day of joyful experience. “It could be a combination of venues — anything that will give them eight hours of joy and a lifetime of memories,” she says.

Children choosing clothes at the store.

This year, the girls were taken to the mall where they were let off to shop for clothes within a prescribed budget; then it was time for a sumptuous lunch and a Punjabi movie thereafter. “Lunch comprised pizzas, pastas and burgers, accompanied by fizzy Coke or Sprite, and wrapped up with ice cream. For most of them the elaborate menu was a first experience and it was sheer delight to see them all indulge in the flavours, savouring every bite,” smiles the club president. Jass Bajwa, a popular Punjabi singer, graced the event with his presence which made the girls even more happier.

The club volunteers visit the home a day before their scheduled day out to get to know the girls. The project’s objective is to provide them with a day of happiness, empowerment and inclusion, allowing them to experience moments of laughter, excitement and delight — activities that are often taken for granted by others, says Prerna.

The young guests enjoying their pizza and soft drink.

Gaurav Ghai, a member of the parent Rotary, RC Himalayan Ranges, Mansa Devi, is the event initiator and sponsors for the project every year. “We call him ‘a man with a diamond heart’,” says Prerna.

Orphans generally do not get what they want; they get what donors want to give. In this event children get what they actually want.
– Gaurav Ghai, member, RC Himalayan Ranges, Mansa Devi.

Children all set to go on their outing with Rotaractors.

So what drives him to spend ₹7–8 lakh for the project annually? “Orphans generally do not get what they want; they get what donors want to give. So I believe in this event, where children get what they actually want,” he says, and relates an incident when he had visited an orphanage on his birthday a few years ago. “The children were expecting a serving of daal chawal and chips. But when I asked them what did they want, there was 15 minutes of silence and then a voice feebly said, ‘Pizza?’ Soon all 130 children excitedly joined in and requested for the Italian dish. That was the best birthday I had ever celebrated,” says Ghai, a diamond merchant and a Rotarain of five years. He makes sure that the young beneficiaries shop and eat at the best venues, enjoy and make the most of the day.

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