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Free to laugh, play and create

Author: Rhiannon Osborne
Posted on: Tuesday, 28th August 2018

As India’s Independence Day week started, the children from the shelter were invited to the ‘Sadbhawana Baal Mela’ on August 14, 2018, at the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and ActionAid India volunteers were also invited to accompany the children.

The kids had a fantastic afternoon at the Mela and enjoyed range of activities from making paper planes to creating models out of clay. Along with the many arts and crafts available, there was also a magic show which the children greatly enjoyed. Next up was a fantastic dance party, which included a performer on stilts and lots of drums. The children were proud of their work and had a lot of fun playing with their creations and wearing the paper hats they had made.

Here is how the children spend the day playing, taking part in activities, launghing and creating..

One of the boys from the shelter, Aarav, enjoys a starring role in the magic show!

Baadal shows off his paper plane and paper bird that he made during the afternoon. He enjoyed flying the plane around the room!

Sahavan was very pleased with his flower. The teachers guided the children and showed them how to make beautiful crafts out of paper.

Baamini, Ibha and Ilanji (left to right) asked for a photo together with their balloons. The balloons were meant to be decoration but proved to be a very popular toy!

The children really enjoyed learning to make the birds. Once made, the birds were great for acting and playing.

Maalai and a volunteer, Diksha, dance to the dholl.

“Sharing snacks with them, playing with clay, bhangra dance and many other moments were really unforgettable for me. All those things showed us a different and creative side of children. At the end we tried to motivate the children and give them an important message for their life.” – Diksha

The children gathered around the crafts table to learn how to make the birds and paper planes. They loved the opportunity to create their own art and learn from the teachers.

Tabassum shows the camera her present from the volunteers, with the words “like stars you can also touch the sky” written on it.

Sabara (left) and Odoti (right) smile with one of the volunteers, Priya.

“The kids were all sparked with energy and interest. The day was indeed a great experience for the kids as well as for us.” – Priya

The children absolutely love to dance! The music was a huge success and all of the children got up and joined in. Kaamil (white shirt) and Ilya (red checkered shirt) had a great time dancing together.

Making clay flowers was very popular. Some of the children also made faces and small pots. One of the children made a very ugly face out of clay and teased the volunteers that they had modelled it on them!

Eka (left) and Vagara (right) stop mid-chase to display the birds and flag that they made. They shortly resumed running around with the birds.

Aaditya (centre) wanted a photo of himself in front of the Indian flower, but his friends weren’t going to let him have one alone!

Three children pose with their most recent creations!

Everyone at the function watched in amazement as the magician pulled a dove out of his hat.

It so happened that it was the last day of volunteering for many of the volunteers. They have been working with the children for a month and the mela made their final day of volunteering happy and fun. They had an emotional goodbye with the children. At the end of the afternoon, they handed out stars with messages for the children written on them. The messages read “like stars you can also touch the sky”.

After an exciting and tiring afternoon, the children gathered to get on their bus and say goodbye. While they were sad to know that the volunteers are leaving, they were also excited to learn that a new team of volunteers will be working and playing with them from the day after.


Contributed by Rhiannon Osborne, an ActionAid India volunteer who dedicated 4 weeks of her time to ActivateStreets. 

ActivateStreets is a creative learning programme to enhance life skills of children living in shelters.


ActionAid India volunteers started working with children in a new shelter in 2018! ActivateStreets now happens in the DUSIB shelters located in the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib campus. These shelter cluster is run by the organisation Humana People to People India, in collaboration with Salaam Balak Trust.

Please Note: The names of the children have been changed.