Khairo Dero's Children Stage Compassionate Living Day
by Naween Mangi
1 year ago
Khairo Dero is very special. It is the world's first official Compassionate Village. Naween Mangi introducted the Charter community in March the story of the Ali Hasan Mangi Memorial Trust’sefforts to help Khairo Dero turn itself into a model village, with schools, sanitation, health services and income-generating activities. Here she relates the story of Compassionate Living Day that she couldn't tell me when we first spoke. Why not? Because the whole event was created by the village children as a surprise for Mangi and the others involved in the project. The younger generation surely provides a great example.
I am very happy to share with you that the Ali Hasan Mangi Memorial Trust celebrated Compassionate Living in Khairo Dero on March 18. It was a wonderful day that we all thoroughly enjoyed and felt grateful for.
We began by putting up the Charter poster in Sindhi which Meg very kindly sent to us in the community hall. Members of our women's group were very keen to read a version in their own language.
Then we had an art competition in which all children of the village were invited to participate on the theme of compassion. They were given paints, crayons, markers, glue, scissors, colored paper etc to choose from. About 65 children from the ages of 5 to 15 took part. Their paintings moved many of us to tears.
The winners were selected by a panel of six judges from among the community center staff. Tehmina Channa, 10, won the first prize. She portrayed a boy helping an elderly man with a walking stick to get home. Second-prize winner Shumaila Kango, 12, showed a man helping another to cross the road. And third prize winner Parveen Kalhoro, 13, painted a young boy helping an elderly and tired man by taking him to rest under the shade of a tree.
Later in the day, we held a drama and dance event where children presented skits prepared by themselves with the assistance of trainers at the community center. All the skits presented related to their daily lives in the village. One showed a mentally handicapped boy being bullied by children in the village and then another child sees this and comes and talks to the others about compassion and then the group begins caring for the boy. This is a real life situation in Khairo Dero. There's a very ill young man and children tease him to no end, aggravating him a lot. So this was a lovely skit to see.
Another depicted an old woman from another village who has come to Khairo Dero having heard of the Community Center which helps provide medical assistance to poor patients. So she is asking the way to the center and people are misleading her. This is also common in real life where pranksters harass outsiders. So some children take her to the community center as an act of compassion. A third skit showed a village woman cradling a sick child and she didn't have any money to buy medicine. So a neighbor comes by and sees this feverish child and then gathers a group of women from the neighborhood, all of whom are poor but they chip in a little money each and that makes enough to help the child.
And another showed three kids playing on a swings at the Community Park and fighting for their turn (this happens there everyday!). Their teacher asks them not to fight and to cooperate. But they continue to bicker. Then one boy pulls another off the slide and he gets hurt. They all go to the teacher. And she explains that if they didnt fight, no one would be hurt. And if they treated each other as they themselves would like to be treated
The children also presented cultural dances to celebrate the introduction of compassion into their daily lives. The vision of young women joyful in dance was in and of itself a treat in a culture where girls are kept home and prevented from taking part in any social activities. The Community Center has become a means of compassion this way because by providing girls with a safe, secure and segregated culturally appropriate environment, they are able to come and enjoy the library, arts and crafts, games and sport. The fact that they themselves decided to use dance as a means of celebrating compassion was proof enough that the compassion the center provided them in creating a place for them to express themselves had gone such a long way.
Naween A. Mangi