Happiness is to be had in the little things, say volunteers at Choti Si Khushi. It’s a motley crew of homemakers, young professionals and corporates — all women — who volunteer to teach underprivileged children and their parents regularly.
Some come every day, others for a couple of days in a week, some twice a month — but they come, without fail.
When City Spidey visited the park in Sector 3, Dwarka, behind Heritage Tower, 40 volunteers were teaching about 250 children and their mothers. Hundreds of children and women could be seen reading, writing and doing a host of other activities under the guidance of experienced volunteers.
A class in progress at the Sector 3 Park, behind Heritage Tower
Corporate professional Seema Joshi explains the genesis of Choti Si Khushi, a community-based, volunteer-driven organisation that, besides offering literacy classes, also has after-school activities for children. She shares, "It all began in 2014, when a few like-minded people started teaching children in the park. With time, more and more people joined us, and we increased our reach. It was a win-win, really.”
Another volunteer, Nandita Dube, also a corporate professional, adds, “It is one place where you can see your efforts translating into palpable change. After some time, even the parents wanted to join the literacy programme — they were willing to learn, along with their kids. We decided to name our efforts Choti Si Khushi, and registered our organisation in 2015.”
Not just the children, the mothers, too, are taught by the volunteers
Namita Choudhary, one of the founder members and a resident of Heritage Tower, says, "We teach children of all ages, and also give them other lessons, such as music, martial arts, and art and craft. We identify the core strengths of a child and then try to hone them. Though most of the volunteers are women, we do have few male volunteers as well, such as JC Malhotra, who has been with us since the inception of Choti Si Khushi.”
The literacy camp at the park is christened Little Lamps, explains volunteer Seema Joshi. She adds, “We also have a literacy-and-empowerment programme for the mothers, which is called Prayas. And then we have Jagriti, in which we hold workshops on a variety of themes, such as child rights, cyber safety and communication skills for government-run schools.”
Choti Si Khushi also runs a centre close to Defence Apartments in Sector 4. It has been operational for almost a year now and has the support of volunteers from neighbourhood societies, including students from the Rajapuri region. Residents of Rajasthan Apartments, including Sashi Kapoor, Krishna Agarwal and Uma Gupta, took the lead in starting this centre.
Volunteers at Choti Si Khushi
Choti Si Khushi recently started a third centre in Matiala.
Some volunteers, as City Spidey came to know, walk a good distance to participate. Leena Bora of Janak Residency in Sector 18A is a case in point. She explains, “My home is two and a half kilometres from this park, but I walk to this place every day, and go back the same way. It’s a great way to stay fit without any fuss.”