KOZHIKODE: This Eid-ul-Fitr is special for the 22 child inmates of leukemia ward of Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) at Medical College Hospital here as, for the first time, they literally celebrated it.
There were Ramzans before their arrival here, after detecting the serious illness, and some other festive occasions passed, but all had a shadow of agony. But inside these four walls, and among friends with the same worries and similar dreams, without the barriers of religion, they celebrated Eid.
All the children, including nine girls, aged between nine months and 16 years, together celebrated the event, organised by Arm of Joy, an NGO based in town.
Obtaining the necessary funds from appropriate sponsors, the NGO arranges events specially for the deprived and needy in society. On this occasion, though the NGO had planned the Eid celebrations for Muslim children alone, later it was extended to all the children in the ward. “For children, all the festivals are alike. If we confine the gifting ceremonies to the Muslim children alone, it might hurt the sentiments of the other children, who do not have the knowledge to distinguish between religions. In addition, if that could provide a feeling of secularism, let this be a beginning,” said C4CCCI secretary Deepa Ajith, who assisted in holding the function.
“Many children are not permanent inmates here. After undergoing chemotherapy, they take rest and then leave for their homes, sometimes in neighbouring districts. For this particular event, they stayed back with their parents,” she added.
Boys were gifted with sunglasses and girls were decorated with ‘mehendi’ on their palms, apart from new dress.
Food was prepared and served for the children and their parents. Cake was cut and distributed among the children by Arm of Joy volunteers. For many of the participants, the gathering was an opportunity to celebrate Eid, missed at home owing to the illness of the kids.