On 31st May 2015, Red Cross of Mombasa had their annual World Red Cross Luncheon Party for the orphans, disabled and special needs children. Children from different schools would travel long distances to attend this event. On this day, the Red Cross team aim is to make these children happy and enjoy the event. This year, Red Cross was also celebrating its 50 years of service. Furthermore, this event provide the children an opportunity to showcase their special talents and skills, it is one of the ways of creating awareness about their unique conditions as well as giving them a chance to network with, and see other children who need special care. Not only do the children learn a lot, and get motivational talks by people who are from similar backgrounds, who have achieved success in life is an asset for them but most of all, they find joy in this one special day, a time for physical and emotional change, which makes them extremely happy, they celebrate and enjoy with a variety of games, plenty of different types of snacks, sweets etc. At the end of the day, they go home with goodie bags and educational items. Perhaps this is normal for other kids but it is something very special for the vulnerable kids and it happens once every year at this event.

Children started off with playing games, (the volunteers help them, and play with the children who need special care), and then the children walk into the hall where they get entertained by different performances like magic shows, acrobat shows and music too for the children’s entertainment.
 
In addition, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Red Cross, and other dignitaries/invitees attend this event and sometimes help in distributing food to these children, and this makes the children happy.

Youth from our community were given in-charge of the games. There were 23 volunteers from our community including young boys of 13 to 14 years of age. The volunteers were expecting about 1400 children; they were well prepared from 7.30 a.m. for the event day. Some of the games organized for the children included: pinning the donkey’s tail, hoola hoops, ring toss, fishing, and play dough. They also had tables for sponge painting; face painting, marble run, and hitting the cans. Teamwork was definitely the key.


The children started coming in from 8.00 a.m. in groups with their schools from, sometimes it was one school followed by another, and other times it was a few schools together, our role was also to usher the children to the hall. It was simply beautiful and satisfying seeing their smiles, and excitement.

One of the schools that attended this event was Cerebral Palsy Institute and disease. The children from institute suffer from cerebral palsy and yet, they were so happy and contented with life. It was an eye-opener to us.

We came across at this event was a talented child named Augustine. He touched our hearts. Augustine was a partially sighted, Albino child. He was so happy when he came to the play dough table. He molded the play dough into so many beautiful things that looked like they were real; we did not have to ask him what he was making because it was amazing what he had created.
 
Our volunteers also helped with ushering the handicapped children, who were in their wheelchairs, into the hall and helped with serving food to the children.

It was quite moving to see some children faced challenges to eat with their hands, yet these children had a smile on their faces. Later, we helped with giving the gift bags to the children as they left the hall in their school groups.

Some of us helped with cleaning the hall floor by sweeping and moping after the children were done with eating. I wish to commend the hard work and dedication of the team which was ably led by the coordinator Br. Mohamedali Giga who was always available, and made sure we had everything we needed which made our task much easier to perform.  

It was an experience we will forever remember. However, I call upon the youth of our community to come forward and join hands in such events; it is an eye-opener. It softens our hearts, and moreover it’s a life changing experience.

We are thankful to AYN for the encouragement and for giving us the opportunity to publicize this event in this News Bulletin.
 
Compiled by:
Zahra Shamsheer Mawji
13th July 2015 (26th Ramadhan 1436)


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