Dance for a Cause (SOS Children's Village)
~by Tanvi Jain, Shrewsbury resident
It was summer of 2010, as I stepped off the plane into the scorching heat of my homeland; I decided something was to be made of my so- far average summer. Traditionally, I had ventured to India to indulge in my grandmother’s delicious home cooking and watch Bollywood movies with my cousins. But, I was determined to pursue something other than food and relaxation this summer. Coincidently it was also my first summer away from dance, and I would be missing a few different exciting shows, and when I heard of how practices were coming along, it hit me that dance was honestly the one thing, my one true passion, that I could use to share with others.
After visiting some relatives I learned that my uncle donated to the SOS Children’s Village every year, an orphanage that raised children in permanent homes, under the care of a loving volunteer mother. He showed me pictures of the children he sponsored and I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of their community.
As soon as I reached Bhopal I contacted the SOS Village, and I met a group of young girls and I became very close with them over my time at the village. Their first reaction to my presence was shock at the fact that I was classically trained and I had prepared semi classical dances to teach them. To my surprise they were more interested in Modern-American activities, and this was where ironically, I, an Indian American, was able to teach the girls about their own ancient traditions.
Over my ten days volunteering I grew familiar with the village’s system. I even began joining the daily afternoon prayer, and genuinely felt the familial bond between all the children. The one sentence I can quote and the one thing that changed my perspective on life all together was when the youngest of the girls said to me “Didi, I want you to meet my brother; he came one year ago.” They looked nothing alike, yet I knew that the brother-sister bond between them was beyond real, something stronger than what some biological siblings hold.
My most savored and precious memory of the village was experiencing the pure joy the girls felt when they welcomed a new baby brother or sister, and luckily on my last day I was fortunate enough to hold a new baby girl who was brought into the safe and caring arms of the village. There she would spend all 18 years of her life in a loving community with an immense support system by her side. This baby girl, along with many others, was graced with the aid of the SOS Chidren’s Village. And many more fortunate children will be allowed the same rare chance to live happily.
Ultimately I was inspired by the girls’ laughter and optimism in life. I knew that this one experience of mine would stay with me for a life time and allow me to continue supporting my passion for dance along with my newfound interest in community service. And it was because of these girls I am spending my entire summer this year practicing and organizing an amazing Indian classical and fusion/contemporary dance show on September 16, 2011 at Worcester Academy, to benefit the SOS Children's Village in Bhopal-India.
To learn more about the SOS Children's village that Tanvi volunteered at visit - http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/Where-we-help/Asia/India/Bhopal/Pages/default.aspx