Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chandra



Krishna - starting the program
Chandra in blue shirt
It was a cheerful sunny morning filled with happiness. Koseli looked like a bride all decorated for the first time. The children were busy giving final touches to their dances and speeches. At 11.40 am ten minutes behind schedule, we lit the lamp in front of Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and inaugurated the program. 

All festivals at Koseli are celebrated with a short program entirely prepared by the children. These programs are our efforts to infuse confidence in the children. They are great performers even without any formal guidance. All they need is a little exposure and encouragement. That is where the school steps in. 

Grade 2 - Performing
Rajesh and his troupe’s performance on Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” just blew us away. The little ones stole our hearts with their nursery rhymes. Raj Lama spoke on the recent student council elections and how it is grooming them for the future. It was nice to hear Pinky Rai speak on Koseli and what it meant to her. However, the surprise package of the day was Chandra. We did know that Chandra was a great singer but the fact he was a great dancer too, came as a pleasant surprise to us.

Chandra is 14 years old. He was abandoned by his parents in his infancy for reasons unknown to him. He has been supporting himself from a very early age. He started weaving carpets and continued till he was asked to leave their lodging facility at the age of 8 (it was assumed that he was old enough to take care of himself). Since then, he has worked in various hotels and guesthouses where he was provided accommodation in exchange for cleaning dishes. Obviously, over his childhood, while he was struggling to survive, he hardly had any time to think about studying. And in last 10 months we too have realized that Chandra’s education has to start from scratch. We have also realized one more thing that his strength lies in performing arts. 

As I write this blog, I am very happy to mention that Chandra has been admitted to a music school and he has started his formal training in singing and playing guitar. We wish him all the very best and hope he will fulfill his dream of being a professional singer when he grows up. We are also working on helping Chandra find a place to live where he can spend the rest of his time focusing on developing his reading and writing skills.

Grade 6 - performing
In Nepal it is a common sight to see children working in hotels in exchange for food and accommodation. There are many children working just to stay alive. Chandra’s transformation is a big stride for us because we are trying to bring about a change in at least one of these lives. 
We are so happy that his life is changing and he is now busy chasing his dreams rather than cleaning dishes for food and clothes.




Coming back to Saraswati Puja celebrations, as always, we ended on a very high note. We thank all the guests who came to encourage the young performers.





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