As 11 year olds, did we do anything apart from stealing time away from school books for TV shows, video games or friends? Not really, right? We were busy being just kids.
But here’s a 11-year-old boy, who is, apart from doing all things “normal”, also stepping up to do his bit for the society.
Rohan Kapur, from Delhi Public School in Sharjah, is channelising his weekend mornings wisely by gathering his gang of friends to serve refreshments to construction workers, whom he refers to as the “real heroes”.
It all started four weeks back, when Rohan was unable to withstand the heat while standing on the balcony of his two-bed apartment in Sharjah. “It was so hot. I couldn’t even stand there for a few minutes. Then, I saw some labourers working real hard. I felt sympathetic towards those workers who stayed out in the heat while we sat comfortably in our air-conditioned apartments,” he elaborated.
Without losing much time, Rohan approached his parents and elder brother and together they set out, almost immediately, to start, what was to become a revolution of sorts. “I’m speechless. We’ve read about how everything big has a modest beginning. Even this started out small, but now it’s getting bigger and bigger, and we are getting such tremendous support,” echoed his dad Rajesh.
His mom Rakhi is overwhelmed at how mature her son is in his thinking. “I really feel proud that at his age he is concerned about the welfare of the workers. When he told me about his plans, I promised him that we would support him all the way,” she added.
Rohan’s first run, with eight of his neighbours, was funded by his pocket money. “Now, we’re getting so many contributions. I even distributed flyers in the neighbourhood and my school, and this has helped a lot,” he claimed. “Everyone’s willing to pitch in. Everyone has a big heart.”
The community has since grown, from eight to 35 members, with three-year-olds and elders all joining forces, and he’s got the media to thank for the progress. “After the radio interview, there were so many messages from people, who were willing to contribute. People were so motivated after reading my story that a man, gave up his Dh1,700 worth skydiving, to donate his time and Dh500 for our cause.”
Rohan, in turn, attributed his motivation to the news reporters who’ve put the spotlight on him. “Now, I’m encouraged to do more work.”
Titled “Serve The Heroes”, Rohan and his friends spend the entire week planning and reminding everyone to join them at 10am on Fridays and Saturdays”.
The juice, laban, soft drinks and biscuits are collected and stored for the distribution. “When we give drinks to the workers, it brings a smile on their face,” added Rohan. “We feel so satisfied that we are actually serving the heroes, who are so far away from their family. Even though they are so far away from their country, we must make them feel at home.”
Apart from snacks, Rohan has also started to distribute hats, which protects the workers from the scorching sun. “One day he picked up a few hats that were lying around the house and distributed it among the workers, who were so happy. This has motivated him to distribute more,” added his mom.
That’s not all, after distributing the drinks, Rohan and his friends throw the collected used bottles and tetrapacks into the designated bins, so the roads aren’t littered.
He credits his school for instilling this sense of social responsibility. “We have an activity called “sharing and caring” through which we distribute rusks and juice to the blue boys, who work for us. My school has helped me in initiating this project.”
So, while his peers are relaxing in the comforts of their homes, Rohan and his red-hatted fellow helpers step out to serve road workers. “Now, I want to take it further and go to different labour camps,” proposed Rohan. “I’m going to continue to help out every weekend and during Ramadan, we plan to do it every day after Iftaar.”
And during his summer holidays, when he heads to Delhi, where his grandparents live, he plans to continue doing the same work. “He will serve his country also,” added his mom.
All this weekend work, however, doesn’t eat into his study time. “Yes, studying is important. This is just a small thing. It’s just some time on a Friday and Saturday.”
Just like his peers, Rohan also spends time singing, dancing and reading, and plans to become “an engineer from IIT”. His real passion lies in public speaking, and he aspires to be like APJ Abdul Kalam (former Indian President), whom he met during his school’s 10-year celebration, and who applauded him for his speech as the head boy.
Within a month of starting out, Rohan has already turned into a little hero, or should we say little Munnabhai, inspiring many people to step up and help others.
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