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Street children fill canvas to help Kashmir flood victims
Sunday September 28, 2014 12:38 PM, IANS

They barely manage to eke out a living but are yet painting to live out their dreams and to raise money for the victims of the Kashmir floods.

Take 13-year-old Aakash. He earns his living by selling knick-knacks like kajal and other beauty products at an intersection in the national capital but hasn't given up the hope of becoming a dancer and owing a dance crew.

These aspirations came out well in his painting where a couple of boys have posed in Michael Jackson's signature moves.

Then, trough his painting of a young boy looking at a computer, 14-year-old Lalit has expressed his wish of owning a computer one day and learning to use it for a better future.

Like Aakash and Lalit, there are several other street and working children - rag pickers, street vendors, and sometimes even beggars - who used the medium of painting to express their hidden ambitions and desires of living a secure life in a better and clean India.

These 50 children from different parts of the capital participated in an ongoing painting exhibition "Colour for Cause" to generate money from the sales of their paintings sales to contribute to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund for the victims of the Kashmir floods.

The exhibition, organised by Sapno ki Duniya, a centre run by an NGO - Childhood Enhancement Through Training and Action (CHETNA) at Arpana Art gallery in Siri Fort Institutional area - has generated good response.

So far they have collected Rs.27,000 from the sales. The exhibition will end Monday.

Most of these children study at the Sapno Ki Duniya centre in shifts where they also learn various arts, crafts, dance and music.

While most street children drew on the canvas their wishes and dreams, 13-year-old Rahul when told how his painting will contribute in providing succour to the flood-victims drew a scene of rescue operation in the Valley.

"I had seen images of the army rescuing the people on television. I was so moved by those images that I decided to paint the good work done by the army of saving so many lives," Rahul told IANS.

While most of these children live with their families, various factors force them to take up menial jobs at a very young age.

Abusive family environment, drunken and unemployed fathers and every day struggle to make ends meet contribute massively in pushing them out on the streets.

"My father would drink all day and mother was running the house alone. I have two sisters and it was difficult for my mother alone to take care of the house. So, I had to pitch in," Deepak, 15, who works as a rag picker in south Delhi, told IANS.

It was heartwarming to see seven-year-old Mehak draw an "ideal" home with a car.

"I don't know if I will ever have a house of my own. But I would like to have one," Mehak told IANS.

Apart from these personal desires, a few children showcased the sad reality of their lives.

Ten-year-old Aaditya used the trees and painted happy and sad faces on it to depict different phases of life, and so did Kajal, 12, who portrayed "class discrimination" through her painting.

But despite the hardships in their lives they were happy that they were able to contribute to society.

Aakash, who wants to have his own dance team, was thrilled that they were able to collect money for the flood victims.

"It is a great feeling to help out those who were deeply impacted in the floods. This was the only way we could contribute and we are happy that people are coming and buying our paintings," Aakash told IANS.

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