Becoming I Foundation

Blog » A Najaf Story

June 1, 2012

By Uma Sharma

Uma Sharma is the Project Head – Fiza at Becoming I Foundation. 

Forced to drop out of school by her parents, Renu could be mistaken for any teenager as she spends her week doing household chores and taking care of her toddler sister. But come Saturday morning, and you get to meet the livewire that she is. Her constant chatter doesn’t dull as she paints and plays with the other kids, and I get my weekly update of all that happened in the small village of Najafgarh.

Having known her since November 2010, when I first came to the village as a volunteer, I know quite a lot that goes on in her small little world- every new dish she learns to cook, every new trick that she teaches her dog, and every new song she listens to, she tells us all about it whenever we come to the center.

Over this past summer, I couldn’t visit the village as I was out of town. As weeks went by, the other volunteers told me that Renu often asked about me, and I could sense she missed our weekly chitchat as much as I did. However, I was moved to tears when one Saturday morning, I got a call from one of the volunteers saying that Renu wanted to speak to me.
Talking to her after so long made me realise that we mean a lot more to people than we would know ourselves. I promised Renu that I’d come back as soon as I could. She seemed happy at the thought and put down the phone, satisfied. Later in the day, the same volunteer called and told me that after I spoke to Renu, she rushed off home and came back an hour later with a gift she’d made for me. She also got a paper and a pencil to dictate an entire letter that she addressed to me.

I had heard the adage about how the thought behind the gift is more important than the gift itself, but being the typical spoilt kid, I’d never really believed in it, until, that day.

That letter and the card she made are amongst my most prized possessions, and I don’t remember feeling happier than I did then. They say happiness comes in different shapes and sizes, I found mine in the letter of a 10 year old girl.