A festival is an excuse to celebrate, sing together and love more loudly. Every festival has its unique flavour and Christmas brings with it a season of cheer, sharing, giving and loving unconditionally. For us at Snehadhara Foundation, the celebrations of the season have been most special.

A long time dream to have other school children visit and celebrate with us, has come true – thanks to the ACTS Harmony, the choir from ACTS Secondary School, Electronic City, Bangalore. 20 children came to our Centre on Dec 18th, bringing in more than the music they are trained to share. They brought us solace, love and an abundance of inspiration with their warm smiles and completely casual acceptance of our children, no questions asked. There wasn’t a doubt floating in the air that here was a transfer of joy in progress.

“I’d wished for this for a long, long time,” says Gitanjali (better known as Geetu), the Founder and Executive Director of Snehadhara Foundation. “In this season of giving, these children gifted us their presence.” She rejoiced that “the sharing of space happened so organically.” There was no preparation or special orientation required. She added that she wished “we could create more opportunities like this” as it is bound to have a great impact on both sets of children and all the adults involved. The way the children celebrated with us so naturally, it proved that “inclusion is not an external process,” says Geetu.

“For me, it was really humbling and moving to watch how the students from ACT conducted and presented themselves. They were very open, non-judgmental and welcoming in their manner,” says Prerna, a facilitator. She was especially touched by “their offer to allow students to meddle with the instruments and their willingness to interact with them.” The concert became an opportunity to again witness the effect of music on the students. “It seems to be something that captures their interest…” she says and adds that she really likes how “the entire Centre has the chance to experience joy together,” during ‘Houseful.’

For the Choir too it was a unique experience, says Annie, the Choir Co-ordinator. “This is the first time we have performed in such a place. It was different from all our other performances as we were able to interact with everyone. Their responses were so encouraging. We were all amazed by their hospitality and the way we were welcomed. It was a memorable and fulfilling experience.”

For the children at the Centre, it was more than a joyous occasion to feel the music in their bodies, dance with the tunes and travel with the images of celebration and gifting love. “I love the surprises you plan for us,” says Dinal, a senior student at the Centre, completely expressing the joy the concert brought them all, with a smile going deep into her eyes. Abhishek, the keyboard player from the choir says it was a dream come true for him to perform as he “always wanted to perform for them” and “make everyone happy”. He promises to come back every year because he could see “how happy they were and he wants them to be happy forever”

“Holidays are joyful, there’s always something new. But ev’ryday’s a holiday, when I’m near to you,” goes the popular song. For us at Snehadhara, we wish for inclusion to manifest in the world as naturally as it did when the ACTS Harmony Choir came to sing for the children at our Centre. Let’s all be near each other, there for each other – simply gift our presence to ourselves and many, many others, even those not in our ambit so far so every day is a celebration of connection.