What does it feel like to reach out to someone or give something to someone, especially if they are small children?

 

The ‘Love in a Box movement’ is all about instilling in a child love, compassion, and kindness. It only does one thing better- it helps you in building bridges between people, particularly children.

 

 

 

 

The concept was simple. What they did was pack goodies (toys, stationery, small items of clothing, anything) in a shoe box preferably, attach a small note with the sender’s name (the child’s name, address, and contact information for a parent), and drop it off to the contacts listed.

 

But how did this movement come into being?

 

It all started with two friends, Kathyinla Jamir and Vitono Gugu Haralu, visiting a remote hamlet in April of this year.

 

Little did they know that interacting with the little children who were oblivious to the outside world but contented with such simple lifestyles would be what gave life to this movement.

 

“We were both really moved and so happy to find how contented the little children were with such a simple lifestyle and oblivious to the outside world,” says Jamir, who is also the EAC of Noklak district. “The joy on their faces warmed our hearts”.

 

According to Kathy, it was on their way back that Gugu — the bubbly herself — suggested doing something for the children.

 

And after that particular trip, with no expectations but with the intention of bringing a smile to the children’s faces, Kathy and Gugu kept in touch with each other and discussed various ideas.

 

“I met Kathy for the first time there but we became very close. You don’t need to know someone for a long time,” Gugu says, referring to how her and Jamir bonded so quickly.

 

As Kathy and Gugu considered the idea and what they intended to do, Kathy said, she could only think of ‘love in a box,’ because love was the goal and love was the definition and thus, she proposed the name ‘Love in a Box’ for their initiative to which Gugu readily agreed and added the word ‘movement’.

 

“I reasoned that if this inspires us to do something, it should inspire anyone for free. We’re not going to stop in Noklak; we’re going to keep going. Let’s make it a year-long event,” Gugu elaborated.

 

According to Gugu, they initially thought of adding the word, ‘Naga’ but it was Ani Yepthomi, Director of Livingstone Foundation International who suggested that the movement be more inclusive and hence, framed the name, ‘Love in a box movement’.

 

They then begin their movement by focusing on Noklak’s Christmas. They will, however, reach out to the farthest and nearest — whoever requires priority first.

 

 

 

 

“Kathy identified many villages while travelling for official duties. As a result, she meets children at school. The churches will assist in distribution. She already has a distribution list. In terms of the field, she is the best,” Gugu added.

 

“I took care of internal factors in Dimapur, she took care of the priority list and identifying children of different homes and keeping in touch with the children. It’s been overwhelming, and we’re so grateful,” Gugu added.

 

How the movement found love

 

Then, on November 15, they began spreading the word about the movement, with the goal of instilling in young minds the importance of reaching out, thinking beyond classroom walls, and cultivating emotional intelligence. And in a span of one month the movement was beyond successful.

 

“The outpouring of support we received was overwhelming. Even from Mokokchung, we received so many boxes. There were people who would call, and because there was no direct sumo to Noklak, we’d ask them to send it to Tuensang, and then from Tuensang to Noklak. It was so exciting… the parents would call us and say they wanted to send on behalf of their children,” Jamir added.

 

“We were receiving boxes even from Canada and the US. It was overwhelming, and it touched our hearts deeply,” Gugu added.

 

With the movement gaining momentum, they received assistance from Sashila Ozukum, School Administrator of Hope Academy, as well as its teachers and students, Ani Yepthomi, Director of Livingstone Foundation International, its teachers and students and from Maple School.

 

Gugu joyfully recalled having to take a truck to collect the boxes from the schools, and how joy filled her emotion as she collected an abundance of boxes in her hands with assistance from the truck driver, her landlord’s family, and many others.

 

 

 

 

“What touched me the most was Sonia Singh, IPS, IGP (ABNS-IR) offering to transport the gifts to Noklak,” Gugu continued.

 

“It felt like a divine intervention,” Jamir added, recalling Singh’s offer to help with logistics while Gugu and her were unsure how to get the gifts to Noklak.

 

 

The movement’s result

 

“Much to our surprise, we have a minimum collection of about 500 boxes now,” Jamir said as the movement came to an end on December 15.

 

“Some boxes are still on their way. On Monday, we will travel to Noklak. I have been packing the entire day. I have no words to say. I feel so happy and blessed,” Jamir added, saying that she intends to begin distributing the boxes this week.

 

They also expressed gratitude to the Aran and Rinrei Chihui brothers, who assisted in the creation of the initiative’s logo and design, as well as their freewill contribution to the movement.

 

“We are extremely grateful to the family members, friends, and well-wishers who made the effort to have the boxes delivered all the way to Noklak,” they added.

 

 

 

 

“I had a teacher from Hope Academy call up who had 32 students in her class and as she told them about the movement and the importance of reaching out, all the 32 students brought a gift each. She says, she is now a proud mother of 32 children. Moments like that are what make this movement so heartwarming and unique,” Jamir said.

 

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate. This isn’t going to be a one-time thing. We intend to do it in other districts as well,” Gugu added.

 

“We will be very happy if, somewhere down the line, in about 10-20 years, two children living in different parts of Nagaland can become friends through this,” Jamir concluded.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the Love in a box flyer reads, “We never know where this might lead to but we do know in our hearts that it is going to be a worthwhile destination and we hope to forge solid relationships through this act of friendship. Also, this is not a one-time initiative. We look forward to expanding it to several places and for a start, we have chosen our Frontier District Noklak, which means the Love In A Box you send will find acceptance from a friend here.”

 

 

“I hope this small gif of mine brings a smile on your face. I’m thankful that I am able to give something and I wish you luck and happiness for all of you.

I love you guys!

May God bless you and please be happy.”

 

 

Mokokchung Times

 

 

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