Joyful Hearts: Volunteer Initiatives for Special Children

Categories: Care.

To celebrate International Volunteer Day on 5th December 2023, an event was arranged to bring a smile to the disregarded children patients at Sheikh Russel Park in Narayanganj City by the community volunteers of the Compassionate Narayanganj Palliative Care project. The entire arrangement was for some unique children patients who have been suffering from incurable illnesses.

This was a beautiful day for a group of young people who were busy decorating a corner of a playground in the park. They decorated the place with colourful balloons, paintings with beautiful words, banners, etc. The event started with a warm welcome to the guests with a balloon and a red rose. Some came walking with or without help, some were held on their parent’s lap and some by wheelchair. They were aged between 8 to 12 years except for two, who are around 18 now and receiving palliative care since the beginning of the project. Volunteers gifted various amusing toys to the children and served them delicious snacks. They played with them with toys. The guardians were also invited. This sudden programme was arranged to put a smile on these children’s faces. A mother of a child suffering from cerebral palsy cried with emotion and said, “My daughter has never felt so happy in her life. I’m also very happy and grateful today.”

The children laughed and forgot about their health concerns. Parents were overjoyed with the arrangement. It was a blissful gathering for the kids. Some kids have established pals between themselves. Two little girls who lived in the same neighborhood but did not know each other were acquainted for the first time. Both are housebound and have no friends because their mobility is limited owing to sickness. One of their parents said, “This is a joy for us that, at least my daughter now has a friend to visit.”

An elderly patient voluntarily came to the event to relieve his boredom. He was getting so excited and thankful to the volunteers for arranging such an event. He said, “I forgot the entire monotony of my life for a while enjoying the joy of these children.” Tears came out of his eyes with emotion. He added to the volunteers, “You are very kind people. Please keep organising such events in the future.”

To celebrate the theme of International Volunteer Day 2023, “The power of collective action: If everyone did”, the whole event was completely organized by the volunteers. Volunteers handled the entire process, from picking up the patients from their homes to safely transporting them back home. Volunteers do not work for monetary or social gain. Their main goal is to provide altruistic humanitarian service. A small volunteer effort can revolutionise a town and enlighten the country. This small sole initiative by volunteers was the first approach for the children of Narayanganj as a token of the love of the community. It will remain as an example of humanity and encourage other community members for future initiatives.

“Compassionate Narayanganj” is a pilot project, a unique collaboration between Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Worldwide Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), St. Christopher’s Hospice, Ayat Education, Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) and Non-communicable Disease Control Program of DGHS, Bangladesh to ensure the availability of Palliative Care services throughout Narayanganj.

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