Rotary Club of Himalayan Ranges Mansa Devi, RID 3080, has been spreading smiles among hundreds of children every year since 2018 with their project Choti Khawaish (Little tastes). One hundred children are taken on a shopping spree every year and they are allowed to buy an item of their choice. “It could be a dress, toy, footwear, art material or anything. The radiance on their faces when they get to hold their little gifts brings so much satisfaction to each one of us,” says PDG T K Ruby, a member of the club.
These children are drawn from orphanages or slum colonies and Rotaractors of RAC Chandigarh Himalayan (sponsored by the club) are given charge of three girls each to ensure safety. They engage the children and help them choose what they want from the shop.
This year the club took 130 girls from an orphanage to the Elante Mall in Chandigarh. They were split into two batches across two days. Following a special request from the club, the mall was opened early and the children were treated to breakfast at McDonalds and lunch at Burger King.
“What is a given for our children and ourself is luxury for these children. But it was a joy to see them relish their pizzas, burgers and French fries. They were certainly delighted,” he smiles.
The Rotaractors had as much fun accompanying the girls on their shopping tour. Little Manasvi, all of six, was delighted to hug her “very own Barbie doll”; while Amrita (12) twisted and twirled in a pretty pink gown. Some of them picked up bags, some others tried on footwear and few others were happy to pick up cosmetics too.
Soon it was entertainment time, and the girls were treated to a movie — Wonder Woman — at the mall.
It all began when club president Gaurav Ghai visited an orphanage three years ago, recalls Ruby. His interaction with the children brought to light their simple wishes which “seemed a distant dream to them and we were sold to his idea.” Ghai sponsors a major portion of this project.