“One person can bring a smile; 100 can bring a change.”
The vision of the Sounds of Silence Founder, Sumit Singh Gandhi (Rahul), led to the Inception of the 100 Santa’s Project for the Street kids of Mumbai 5 years ago. After the Pandemic with everything going virtual, we are glad to have crossed the regional barriers and spread our wings PAN India connecting with volunteers across Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab, Udaipur, Kolkata and UP.
Sumit Singh Gandhi, who helms the Sounds of Silence Foundation – a group empowering the hearing-impaired individuals to overcome the barriers of communication they face, says the intention to give back to society led to the project's inception. The ideology of giving back to the society struck the minds of the differently-abled individuals, which turned them to become Santas. The 100 Santa Project was a movement that started with the simple intention of bringing joy and spreading happiness amongst the street kids to whom this could be their first experience of meeting Santa!
A small thought that said making millions smile was made true today with the volunteers going and celebrating Christmas with the orphanages and street kids. They sang Christmas Carols, Played games, made greetings and became Santa for those who needed to love the most.
Our compassion binds us together. The joy of giving makes you count your blessings and feel humbled to acknowledge the struggles the world has seen in the last two years with the pandemic. It feels an honour to be one of those leading the initiative to spread happiness.
In Punjab, we started the journey from Model Town, went down to the church and spent time with a bunch of kids through Christmas Eve. Mumbai Volunteers began the journey at YMCA, Andheri, and as the world sees Mumbai as the City of Dreams, these are kids with the aspiration to make it big in the Sports Fraternity, and we were amazed to see bloggers and celebs like Muskan Rawat, Kashika Kapoor.
What touched us the most was the visit to the street kids on the traffic signal where we could see they felt special and loved for a change, so many Santa’s came to spend Christmas with them with a box of sweets, juice and small gifts :)
The best part of the initiative is that people from various backgrounds join and be Santa for a day. The participants were college students, graduates, working professionals, elderly people. Together they made a December to Remember.
Aashi Thakkar, the Project Lead, has been instrumental in coordinating with our teams and sponsors and helped every region bring in gifts, pack them up and identify the best places to visit. The Volunteers’ reactions were special, “They were smiling and excited. They said, ‘Today, we realised that the joy of getting makes a living but joy of giving makes a life.’ They experienced the power of spreading Happiness.” What Mother Teresa, Hellen Keller, Nelson Mandela taught us through their journey in history classes, they did it practically.
Distributing gifts and goodies to kids who went wide-eyed with surprise were team members Dhwani, Vipul and Janvi, “As we started meeting the kids, they were intrigued and curious to know what’s in their goodie bag. One little girl was so excited to see Santa . She unwrapped the gift as soon as she received it and thanked us.” Janvi added,
Further, Sumit added, “The Joy of giving has no regional, cultural barriers having Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, Christian volunteers from all age groups to all geographies made me believe that this is a world full of humans, and it can be a world full of humanity by mutual respect, brotherhood and love.”
He said, “The children made our belief in this initiative stronger. The gratitude they showed us has now been engraved in our hearts forever.”
This year, we were proud to see social media enabling us to reach volunteers across India. The love and affection from the team have made our dream a reality yet again, making it a December to Remember!!
These 100 people began the holiday season with green, red, merry and bright energy, which motivated many lives to further spread the JOY OF GIVING. They have been the change they desired, and they believe people reading about them will join the chain of creating a difference in society. We hope to see more happiness, love across the globe and pray the pandemic comes to an end to give us more opportunities to do good for society!