Pune: Diwali doesn’t belong to one community only. This was proved when 17 city-based young IT professionals celebrated the festival of lights with children residing in Ishrat Baug slum in Mohammedwadi, a Muslim-dominated area, in a bid to break the barrier of religion.
Shubham Meshram called up his friends to share his idea to celebrate the festival with underprivileged children. “I did not have to put in much efforts to convince my friends to join me. Everyone readily came forward with enthusiasm and excitement,” said Meshram.
These youngsters approached Aasra, a tuition class started by 10 college students by self-funding for children in the slum.
Aleeza Shaikh, a member of Aasra, said, “We received a call from these people to ask what do these children need? They needed notebooks, drawing books, stationery. We were already planning a Diwali celebration for these children here but fell short of cash. Then these IT professionals were generous.”
They planned games such as charades with children and gave away gifts to everyone. They also organised entertainment programmes.
“Initially, the children were a little reluctant in interacting with us. But they got along after a while,” said Akshay Chordia, an IT professional.
Another IT professional, Neha Tote, said, “It was amazing to see these kids happy and delighted with the gifts. They participated in each activity with enthusiasm and great fervour. We were moved by their happiness and energy to celebrate the festival.”