Christmas is the season for sharing; and after a wonderful year of growth and success we decided it was time to give back to the community. At such a special time, we wanted to bring joy to the smallest children at a local orphanage.
After getting in touch with the people and charge and agreeing on a time and date we planned our activities with the children and bought the materials.
The orphanage has kids from 3 months to almost 3 years old. As these children are so small, instead of just bringing them toys as gifts we felt we should bring them things that would be really useful as well such as diapers, baby formula, wet wipes, etc.
Some of the kids have families outside the orphanage such as aunts, uncles or grandparents who are fighting for their custody to take them back. However, some of them don’t have anyone and are put up for adoption.
After the children grow a bit more, if they’re not adopted, they’re sent to a different orphanage for bigger kids. These orphanages receive help and donations from people all year round; and there are volunteers coming to help take care of the kids often.
Although the orphanage has many kids; only about half of them could participate in the activity as the rest are too young and need more special care. Even so, we made sure to help them as much as we could by donating things they need.
The children have schedules for every activity; breakfast, play time, nap time, lunch, etc., so we had to arrive early in the morning to be able to share with them without disrupting their schedule. These children learn from a young age to adapt and live as a society.
With the sun shining brightly and joyful hearts, we were greeted by several little faces with big smiles full of excitement. We set up a breakfast table with fruits, juice, yogurt and panettone to enjoy with everyone.
After a hearty breakfast, the children were full of energy! Running all over, jumping, laughing and playing, they quickly made us feel at home. While some kids loved playing with bubbles, others would excitedly run around; while some still wanted to keep drinking more juice or eating fruits.
The children played to their hearts’ content, and with such a perfect weather, the Sister in charge suggested to go for a walk, so with one kid in each hand, we set off to the nearby supermarket.
The kids made us all impressed with their behavior, full of innocent joy and kindness. They would calmly wait to cross the street when indicated, and made sure to stick with the group so that no one would be left behind. They excitedly named the fruits and vegetables one by one as they recognized them, and greeted people on the way.
When we got back, it was time to open the presents! We handed the diapers and necessities to the Sister in charge, and personally gave the presents to the children for them to open them. Between a flurry of wrapping paper and toy boxes; the children laughed and yelled excitedly.
After playing some more with the new presents, it was sadly time to say goodbye. Everyone helped to clean up, and the children went to have their lunch.
We took the chance to take a tour of the facilities. There is a division where the smaller children live; and they have a shared area for playing. The smaller children were being fed by their caretakers. There is a caretaker appointed to each room, and each room has an average of 5 children.
We had a great experience sharing with the kids, and unexpectedly, we also received a present! The children made us Christmas cards with their own little hands, and it truly made us feel the warmth and the true meaning of Christmas: sharing the joy and cheer. Although we’re giving, we received so much more in return.
Definitely, we will repeat this activity next year!