Orphan is a heavy word lightly used in our common conversations. The word represents a massive community than we think. It is the title of all those untold stories which anyone of us cannot easily understand without experiencing it. Orphans are just like normal children but with a complexed and confused childhood. These children have suffered the loss of a parent or both. The pain of losing a parent is unmatched grief at any age so when a child goes through such suffering, it really affects him/her with the despair of a lifetime. Estimated 153 million children worldwide had suffered the LOSS of their most beloved personalities “Mothers and Fathers”. I had the opportunity to visit such kids at an orphanage along with my classmates. The visit really helped put things into perspective for me. These kids were a delight, they felt gratitude for small things. Things we normally take for granted in our daily life things which we count as nothing means a lot to them. Their eyes were reflections of their loss, but their smile was too genuine and precious for this world. Their laughs and shrieks of joy are etched in my brain to always remind me of innocence, hope and gratitude.
My whole class volunteered for this visit. It sure became one of the unforgettable days in our lives mostly because of the gripping emotions we experienced. Unlike the orphanages, we read about in books or watch in movies, the one we visited felt like home with a happy loving family. We decided to bring along some gifts for the children. Some carried cartons of snacks others brought books and toys. Before visiting the orphanage, we drove to a place called the Al-Midrar institute in our university bus. This institute helped and provided for the unfortunate. We attended a small talk there about the importance of helping the unfortunate. The speaker was a tall lean man in his late twenties, in his speech he shed some light upon community work and services to society. He shared his thoughts with such passion and conviction that he had grabbed all our attention within a few words. He also explained to us about the lifestyle of these kids we were about to visit. The speaker made a lot of good points and reasoned with how we as a society wrongly presume of these miserable situations.
As we reached the orphanage, we made our way in through the gateway where I noticed a rather slightly rusted mirror displayed on the left. The gate opened its way to a large area which was clearly the playground for the children. The orphanage was a 2 storey building quite nicely maintained. The ground floor had 2 rooms for the boys and the floor above was for the girls. Our class first entered the room on the right with little boys sitting around the table and with sync they greeted Assalamualikum. The boys were around the age group from 7-12 but as an exception, there was a meek little 4-year-old boy on the sofa beside the table trying to hide in the commotion the attention grabber of the whole group due to his innocence and questioning eyes. The others introduced themselves along with their desired careers. We joked around and shared our presents, snacks etc. with them. They expressed gratitude in their sweet voices whispering thankyous and shrieks of joy. There were two rooms with numerous beds in them, all placed accordingly neighboring each other. The girls in my class then made their way upstairs to the girls of the orphanage. I took a quick glance in the room opposite before going upstairs. There were sofas on the left and a shelf on the right filled with trophies displayed on it.
The girls upstairs were of the same age group as the boys but a few were couple years older or so. When we entered the girls were also gathered around the table but this time, they were enjoying a meal of rice and Kari dressed up in their school uniforms. We waited for them to finish their lunch trying not to disturb them. The girls were more eager to converse and show around. The girls did the same thing as they too introduced themselves by sharing their interests. The girls later showed their artworks and sang in their sweet voices. As I got out to make space for other classmates, I spotted the boys playing cricket with my classmates. I was standing on a balcony like an area that opened to two stairways which lead to the ground. We then spent a lot of time playing cricket with the kids taking pictures before the kids left for school.
I entered the orphanage feeling sorry for these children. I had already assumed that these kids were in a bad place. On the contrary, they made me realize that they were, in fact, dealing with their challenges far better than any adult. These kids had lost more than we can swallow at a young age there is no denying it. It’s unfortunate that these kids had to suffer at such a young age, paying such a huge price but these kids are dealing with it in the best possible way they can. We forget that they are just kids and they expect admiration and get happy on the littlest things. These kids though required of our sincere love and attention. These kids had such big dreams and a strong belief that it was impossible to overlook, that they would never let the tragic events define them or in any way let them down. Their eyes sparkled when they shared how they want to be a boxer, or a commando, or an artist. The kids although from different families had become a unit here. They considered each other their families.
In this world of greed and jealousy usually, families have comprised of blood-related relations that are based on personal gain but these kids are bonded just through pure love and this is what deeply touched my soul. I still have enthusiasm and get goosebumps whenever I recall the event, it makes me think about the lifestyle we are enjoying and the perks we have. I would have never realized the importance of all the valuable things in my life until I paid this visit in the age of maturity to where I can compare and get results with my own mindset
Ms. Hamna Sheikh,
Second Year Applied Physics,
(Writer, Blogger & Artist)