June 20, 2010

INDIA: 'Dawn' in the lives of orphans, elderly

BANGALORE, Karnataka / Deccan Herald / News / June 20, 2010

By Prasanth Nandakumar, Bangalore

They are two different groups of people. If one is in the dawn of life, the other is on the last leg. 'Ujala,' meaning Dawn, a unique project has brought them together at different stages of life.

Ujala, a project initiated by a team of young IITians aims to connect the elderly from the old age homes and the orphans from the orphanages who crave for affection, bridging the generation divide.

The project, which can be a mutually benefiting experience, will provide a common ground for the elderly and the children to interact. “Children in the orphanages are deprived of parental affection and care. They lack the much needed attention during the childhood”, says Shikha Kapoor, a member of the project, an IIT-Delhi alumnus who works for Intel Bangalore.

“The elderly people who lead a solitary life can be happy by interacting with these kids. They get an opportunity to spend time with the children, to share their experience and guide them. With story-telling sessions, anecdotes from life and other inspirational stories, they give the children the much needed warmth and solace,” she says. “The children in return get the affection and someone to share their feelings, be it joy or worries. They can imbibe moral values and the relationship can be a fulfiling one,” adds Shikha.

Another member Prashanth T P, who works for MindTree in Bangalore feels that the experience can be refreshing for both the parties. “These children need direction in life. The elderly people are a treasure trove of knowledge and are well-educated with a good background. They can instill confidence in these young souls to face life. It opens up a new life for the elderly,” says Prashanth.

The group hopes to make the project a self-sustaining and extend it to other cities as well. The team seeks volunteers to make the project a success.

E-Mail: contact.ujala@gmail.com

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