After a bit over one month on the road, finally my humanitarian-cum-music project has officially started in India’s capital Delhi thanks to the help of a few people and two organizations: CIAI World in Italy, and Butterflies in India.
First and foremost, my thanks go to Maria Alessandra Verrienti of CIAI who put me through Butterflies organization in Delhi, and also hosted me for a couple very relaxing days – thank you so much, it was so great to break the tiredness of my long journey with your amazing family. She liked my project and contacted the amazing Butterflies organization in Delhi: they are in charge of several projects, but I got to visit only the Night Shelter at Chandni Chowk during my visit on February 14th. A great, diverse way to spend a St. Valentine’s day without my partner -who’s now here in India with me, in charge of the projects’ videography-
Butterflies has been active in Delhi since 1989, providing education and support to street and working children, in order to empower their knowledge and skills to exit out of the cycle of illiteracy and poverty. As coordinator Rita Panicker says “As Butterflies have very short lives, our children have very short childhoods”.
I felt very happy to be able to walk into the night shelter, find an interested audience, and get to play guitar for them. As part of their activities, these kids are performers: dance and music are, in fact some of their favorite activities. They were so excited to have me there that, after preparing their own percussions, they started jamming with me, totally covering the notes of my tiny travel guitar!! Their performance was so overwhelming that after I while, I just resigned from guitar duties and started strumming on a big bass drum, having a very good time. Before I left, I had a chance to witness one of the dance group’s performances, and oh my! I couldn’t get enough of that great Bollywood kind of incredible dancing! These kids are just amazing, and very open to welcome other like minded individuals into their activities.
The night shelter was very well organized, providing accommodation and tuition services as well as a well organizing banking facilities for the kids. Each and every one of them was friendly, smiling and visibly happy to be part of such a well established environment.
Butterflies is in constant needs of volunteers, help and funds. You may get in touch with them to ask questions, volunteer or simply make a donation by contacting the email address butterflies (at) vsnl.com or visiting the website www.butterflieschildrights.org. Many thanks to Mahipal for having provided the beautiful pictures in this article.
And you, ngo partners in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, you can also write me to organize a show at your center/institution/school/shelter, and enjoy some travel-oriented, friendly blues guitar!! Hope to hear from you soon!!