Dharavi resident, Aarzoo Banu, 11, did not know it was Children’s Day on Sunday. Yet, she excitedly put on her school uniform and celebrated the occasion midair, aboard an airplane.
Aarzoo was among the 100 children from four NGOs taken for a one-hour joyride over Mumbai by Jet Airways.
The underprivileged children, including cancer patients and kids with hearing disabilities, were given a ride in a Boeing 737 from the domestic terminal in Santacruz, over Bandra-Worli sea link, Madh Island, Virar and back.
“The parents of most of them here cannot even afford their education or treatment. This chance their children are getting has them more excited than the kids themselves,” said Savitha Nathani, manager, Cancer Aid and Research Foundation. “Now, at least for a few months, every time the children come for treatment, they will come with excitement,” Nathani added.
The other NGOs included Asheema, which works with underprivileged kids from slums and streets, Deeds, which works towards making children with hearing disabilities self-reliant.
On board, the children rushed for the window seat and couldn’t stop peering out to see the clouds, the sea and wondered if they could see their houses. “I will tell my family and my brother about it,” said Aditya Kambli, 14.
Accompanying them was VJ Cyrus Broacha. “Children’s day is very special to me as I am still a 15-year old,” he joked.
On a more serious note he said, “Celebrating days like these has become commercial, but such an activity exposes the children to a much better perspective of things.”