February 23rd, 2017
Pooja (name changed), is a little girl who is suffering from a rare congenital disorder and spends most of her time undergoing various treatments at the hospital. So, she is unable to attend school regularly. Her father, the sole bread earner, can not take many days off from his work and visits her in the evenings or some rare afternoons when he is free. Her mother is always by her side. Though exhausted, she has not given up hope for her little girl.
Initially, little Pooja was surrounded by too many relatives but now, with the passing of time, there are very few who visit her besides the doctors and nurses.
It is generally not fun for anyone to be in a hospital, but it’s especially tough for little children. Most of the time they feel lonely, bored and scared.
During the hospital stays and/or visits, children and their families experience high stress, anxiety and discomfort.
Seeing these problems, and in an effort to reduce the stress levels amongst the young patients and their families, Uday Foundation, in 2009, started a storytelling program at children’s wards.
They feel the art of storytelling is entertaining and therapeutic for everyone involved. It is carried out by volunteers at the Foundation, who range from college students, housewives and professionals from various fields. Notable people like actor Ranbir Kapoor, DCP HGS Dhaliwal, Rajdeep Sardesai and Ravish Kumar also volunteered to spend time with the children in the past.
When the volunteers started, it was an instant hit among the children in the hospital. The children immediately became friends with the people who visited them just with one agenda, to bring a smile on their faces.
Wanting to take the program ahead, in 2012, Uday Foundation started another unique program called “Stories on Wheels for Children in Hospital”, where a dedicated storytelling van visits the out-patient departments (OPDs) of various Government Hospitals in Delhi NCR to distribute storybooks, toys and other gifts to the children there.
Children eagerly wait for the story on wheels. Due to the bright colours of the van, the children recognise the same even from afar. It helps them forget the pain for a while. Parents feel very satisfied. As children feel isolated in the hospital environment, always surrounded by doctors and nurses, with no friends to play, a small storybook or a stuffed toy can bring a smile to their faces. Also, the interaction with storytelling volunteers makes them feel more positive and gives them the energy to fight the disease with even more courageously.
It is a moment of immense satisfaction and pride to see the children play with their toys and read their books, forgetting their pain for a while. Stories on Wheels, a colourful hand-painted van by children, is meant to bring colours in the children’s life, even if only for a few moments.
Story on Wheels reaches about 600 children every month. They also visit various schools and organisations twice a week in order to collect storybooks, toys and other donations in kind, which are directly distributed to the children in the hospitals.
You can also become a part of this program. Click here