Be An Elf this Christmas!

Elf Bubbles!In late July a legendary person and awesome friend approached me and another fabulous friend about an idea she had- to collect clothes, toys, stationery and cash for children in orphanages… and then on one weekend in December we’d go have a party with the children and spread some Christmas cheer and love.

Awesome Idea hey?!

Bubbles- her Elf name! – brought me on to a most amazing journey that I don’t even have the words of gratitude for!

Be An Elf Project TMBe An Elf Project started on 10th October and on the 10th and 11th Dec we partied it up with the kids at 4 different Children’s homes…

I have learnt so much and had my mind opened up to so many ideas on this journey that it has truly been priceless! People are very generous when they are given a space to give what they can and it always makes people feel better about themselves by helping those who need the help. People open their hearts not because it’s Christmas (I live in a community of Indians who rarely celebrate Christmas) but because the feeling of giving means something…

This past two months we- Buttons (me), Bugsy (Yatish) and Bubbles (Sapna) have sorted through boxes and boxes of clothes, toys and stationery… we got ourselves into a local paper so the word could spread, we got ourselves on to a local radio station too… And we handed out thousands of pamphlets so more people could know about the opportunity to make a difference in their community…

CAKE!We took sweets, cake, juices, crisps, food and presents for the children! We danced together, sprayed their hair and got a glimpse of their talents too!

It has been a roaring success and the day we spent with the children has given us each memories and experiences that I’m certain we shall all treasure!

The entire project left me feeling so unbelievably grateful that I have parents- sure we work on each other’s nerves now and again, but I have had them with me all my life and they might not have given me the world, but what I have received from them is my world and it is beautiful! I also found myself grateful for my sisters and my amazing friends without whom I just wouldn’t be where I am today…

GratitudeWhat I am most grateful for this festive season is that I am normal. Not only with regards to family but that I can see, hear, speak and function “normally”. Because I know my mum and dad I know that if I wasn’t normal they wouldn’t have rejected me as some of the children in the homes have been… rejection like that is a tough pill to swallow and digest…

That brings me to another idea that has been in my mind all through the project but only now has found the words that can explain it fully…

I’m all about making a difference and helping people- it speaks to me in ways untold!

So when we did this project- it all lead up to a few hours with some precious children who want and need more love and cheer brought to their lives… children whom we cannot do enough for.

I’m sure you’d agree with the above statement… we all would.

Yet I questioned it.

SweetChildren in these homes are treated like victims. We all feel so sorry for them. Our heart goes out to them because they have so much less of what we have. And I don’t mean materially. They don’t know what it’s like to have someone care so much that they go out of their way to make you smile… or remember your birthdays or simply call you because they hadn’t caught up with you in a while…

The one night I was so exhausted that when I got to my bed I was so so grateful to have it… they have never known their own bed, in a home they can call their own with the same type of emotion we have toward ours…

Childrens HomeThere is always someone/ some organization that is providing for them- not only materially but emotionally too- isn’t that what we just did this past weekend? We gave them some love, attention, happiness, cheer etc etc…

What I’m trying to get at is,

“Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life”

<Not that I’m encouraging fishing or teaching anyone to fish!>

How are we empowering these children? They are the future for not just for South Africa but the world!

We have given them memories of a fab Christmas celebration with music and cake and sweets and presents and dancing and love and attention… and I was questioning if this is all I could do??!!

Just beOn some level it felt like all I had really done was teach them to be more of the victim the world sees them as… It wasn’t the intention that any one of us would have went with and it certainly isn’t the idea behind BAEP… I’m just thinking about the years to come… I don’t just wanna have a party with these children year after year. That’s a celebration. I want to empower these children. That’s living!

The mindset of “I’ve been rejected, I am a victim, I am helpless against the injustice that my parents dealt me, I can only ever get what the world gives me, I get my happiness from the world out there, I receive happiness when people decide to remember there are orphans in this world, etc, etc” is all utter bullshit!

Empower our childrenThese children have the exact same potential that we all have and just as our happiness doesn’t depend on anyone else but ourselves, so too does their happiness depend on themselves.

Life will give you exactly how much you ask of it and if these children continue living with a victim mentality the will continue to ask for more organizations to provide for them- which may be all well and good but it is in no way empowering and it doesn’t even begin to tap into their own vast potential!

All these children need to have their minds opened up to the possibilities of life and they need to be empowered to know to ask for more from their life, give more to their life, to believe in their dreams and themselves!

My new challenge, you think?! #AddictedToChallenges !  lol

Below are two videos of our weekend with the children…. and a few pics of the fun we had too!

Childrens Home

We played together!


Sprayed Hair!


We went crazy together!


Messages were left on our banner!

The Be An Elf Project Elves!

We Made a Difference!

What are you doing this Christmas?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. potatosandwich
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 23:30:11

    Well done to you and your friends on a great effort. You’re truly a compassionate and loving person, one exceptional individual.

    I can’t begin to understand the satisfaction you guys must have received, that is personal to you. However I can say this for certain that what you took away with you would have been the blessings of those young children and in the eyes of God, a child’s blessing bestowed on us goes a very long way.

    Once again well done Shilpa, very proud of you!!!


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