Rachna and her group, which she calls, Givers for a Cause, ensure financial, emotional, and material help to the families of the children. “Given how much these children are suffering and going through, my only aim is to keep them happy and do everything towards that cause. Since I cannot do that 24/7, I ensure that whenever I am with them, they are happy and spend their time laughing,” she says.
When asked how she started helping kids who are terminally ill, she says, “I was part of a Gurudwara from where volunteers would go to AIIMS once a week to distribute food (langar), I started going along with them. I remember seeing the plight in which these families lived, and also remember seeing a girl die on the footpath. That changed me.”
It was in 2016 that Rachna started working full time to help kids who are terminally ill and come to AIIMS for treatment. “AIIMS provides free treatment for those who are Below Poverty Line (BPL) cardholders. However, in working with the children I realised that the parents who brought their children here had absolutely nothing with them. And living and surviving in Delhi is not an easy task.”
While the expenses of the treatment are taken care of, there are several other expenses which the families have to bear – living, transportation, medicines, food, etc. “Where do these people go for all of this?” asked Rachna herself.
So she took it upon herself to help these families, to help them ease their struggle by providing them with money for medicines, clothes, food, and shelter, with the help of little funds she got from well-wishers.
Rachna, speaking about the deaths that she witnesses, she says, “For many of the parents, their life revolves around their unwell child and getting them treated. When the treatment fails to make a difference and there is a death, it is almost as though the parents also die. I make it a point to spend my Monday’s calling each of these parents up and just checking on how they are dealing with the loss.”
The children are already stressed and in pain, so to help bring a dash of color and happiness in their day, Rachna and her able team of volunteers conduct various activities for the children – storytelling, drawing and craft, and even just having conversations with them. “We try and fulfill all their wishes, some big and some small,” says Rachna. She along with other volunteers go prepared with material for 125 kids and for two hours, they make merry on the footpath.