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Charity at a tender age

At 9, these two girls feel happy to donate money to hospitals and helping abandoned children, reports Jyoti Shelar.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 21:04 IST

For 9-year-old Tiana Kirpalani, giving money to hospitals and helping abandoned children is a good deed while for Tanisha Lekhraj (9) it means making people happy. At an age when they know least about the meaning of the word 'charity', these two girls have already began offering their bit to the society through what they love - art.

From origami, canvasses, paintings, to paper mache and jewelry making, these girls along with several other kids in their art classes have managed to sell their art to raise money for a good cause from the past four years through an annual exhibition.

"I never liked art till I was 5 years of age but after constantly watching my elder sister creating things from different colours and materials, even I got interested", says Tiana, a standard four student of JB Petit High School. Tiana's art teacher in school, Purnima Sampat, who teaches other school kids, also taught Tanisha which is how they came together. Tanisha, a student of Cathedral High School, adds, "Earlier I studied in JB Petit and that's how I know Purnima ma'am."

While Tiana loves to sketch and draw figures, Tanisha is more interested in painting. While both of them aspire to become artists when they grow up, they want to continue with helping the needy.

"I don't know how much money is collected but we collect a lot of money and we help the children in orphanages and we also help poor people", says Tanisha in her childish voice.  "I will become an artists and keeping donating money by selling my art", adds Tiana.

It all began in 2003, when one of the parents of Purnima's students came up with an idea of holding an exhibition of stuff that the children make and raise money for good causes. "Fortunately a friend offered a gallery for free and we began with the exhibition", says Sampat.  Collecting over Rs 60,000 every year, the money has been donated to the Cancer patients - a colour television set was given at the kid's ward in the Tata memorial hospital, Spastics society and to the Tsunami victims. This year the money collected through the exhibition held in October will be donated to Make-a-wish foundation.

"Earlier, like all the kids, even Tiana and Tanisha did not wish to part with the stuff they had created but later when I sat with them explaining how essential the money would help those in need, the children were keen to create new and more things", said Purnima.

Give them any waste paper, Fevicol and a few colours and they will manage to make an artistic new thing out of it. Like once, Tiana managed to make a sculpture out of lots of newspapers and tapes and crushed foil that turned out like a sculpture studded with diamonds. Similarly for Tanisha, it doesn't take too long to make a plain mug look like one rare piece of art with her paintings on it.

According to Purnima, both Tiana and Tanisha grasp the concept very fast due to the special interest in art that lies within them. "I have been teaching them art since they were five and today they even manage to help other with the kind of creativity they have individually. In school other children want them in their group for projects considering their creativity", she adds.

Today the girls have mastered the art it seems. "Tiana once drew a rabbit in a hospital with a few scissors in the picture suggesting a hospital scene. She made a wonderful card out of it for her grandfather who had undergone a bypass surgery and was hospitalised", says Priti, Tiana's mother. Priti, a web designer by profession, added, "Tiana has constantly been using her artwork to express emotions."

Agrees Mahika Thakur (8), a common friend of Tanisha and Tiana. "I really like the new ideas Tanisha and Tiana always have due to which whatever they make looks very nice", says Mahika, who studies in JB Petit High School.

Email Jyoti Shelar: jyoti.shelar@hindustantimes.com