Children use car seva to help our heroes in Kashmir

Updated: May 30, 2020, 07:47 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

School kids clean vehicles to give earnings to families of security personnel slain while fighting terror in Kashmir

Raanen Sen (left) says he is proud that Anhad Singh (right) came up with the idea so they can help the men in uniform in a small way
Raanen Sen (left) says he is proud that Anhad Singh (right) came up with the idea so they can help the men in uniform in a small way

It may be a time for social distancing, yet it is also a time when the country is coming closer. A group of children from a Mahalakshmi building have decided to clean cars in their housing society during the pandemic, to raise funds for the families of Indian security forces slain while fighting terror in Kashmir. So far they have collected approximately R75,000. The children, at least 14 of them, have dubbed the initiative as Steer-A-Change.

The campaign

Aarushi Jhaveri, 12, from Aditya Birla World Academy (ABWA) school said of the recent initiative, "Soldiers sacrifice a lot in the line of duty to keep us safe. I heard about this idea by my friend, Anhad Singh, who lives in my building and thought I should also join and do my bit for society."

Residents paid R200 for a one-time wash of a car. Aarushi added, "When they learnt about our cause, some households paid us a little more as donation too."

What began with four to five children, soon had about 14 kids participating. Now it is a daily exercise with four to five cars washed.

Aarushi added, "One car would take us about 30 minutes to 45 minutes for bigger cars like SUVs. Initially, some of us did not know how to wash cars as we had never done so, but we learnt from our parents."

Cleaning lesson

Sonal Jhaveri, Aarushi's mother said, "They wear masks and are mindful about social distancing while washing the vehicles. Our building residents have given them such tremendous support. It is wonderful to see these children's labour of love and those who encourage them. It is not just about washing cars, we could have got that done, even if staff is not allowed. It is important to see the learning that comes through this effort." Sonal laughed as she said cleaning the cars, "was not very easy. Some vehicles were very dirty with dried pigeon poop on them for two months. The children learnt you have to start cleaning from the top and move downwards. Earlier, some parents would do a quality check. There is a lot of camaraderie between the group too."

Kashmir encounter

Anhad Singh, 14, said he was moved to do something after he read about security forces dying in the Handwara encounter in Kashmir. This encounter took place in early May. "That stuck with me," said the Campion School student. He added, "My grandfather was in the Indian Air force so I felt some connection with the forces." Raanan Sen, 14, from Edubridge International School said he was, "happy and proud that Anhad had come up with this great idea, so that we could also contribute in a small way to our men in uniform."

Welfare fund

Anhad's mother Shalu Walia added, "Anhad is a competitive sailor. Sailing here is conducted under the aegis of the Indian Navy and he has a lot of friends whose parents are part of the Navy."

Walia said that the amount collected will be given to the Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF). Bimal Deep Singh, Anhad's father said, "We hope this movement inspires other housing societies to come together and propel it forward." The inspirational force behind Steer-A-Change believes there should be no brakes on this effort honouring those who die so that we may live.

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