On April 29,2011, more than 130 children and their parents braved rain and bitter cold to participate in TAAL, an annual Indian dance and music competition for children organized by the Twin Cities, MN Action Center of Vibha.
This is the third consecutive year that Vibha is organizing this event in the Twin Cities metro. In three years, the popularity and participation levels of this event, has almost doubled. The event was conceived with two goals in mind. First of all, Vibha wanted to reach out to the Indian community in the Twin Cities Metro and educate them about Vibha’s mission and how to be a part of the Vibha family. Secondly, it builds a bridge between the Indian American children and the children that Vibha serves in India and the US. Over the last 20 years, Vibha has made the future brighter for more than 150,000 children. Preparing the next generation to keep the momentum going is paramount to achieving Vibha’s mission. This year, the event also attracted at least five new volunteers who later signed up to be a part of Vibha.
Many of the children have been regular participants since the event started in 2009. Every year, they set aside all other activities on a Saturday to participate in Taal. Vibha volunteers get frequent queries about the date of next year’s Taal and once it is published on the website, the competition slots get filled up in no time.
Dinesh Goel, father of Divyaa Goel, the repeat winner in the (8-12) classical music category says, “We look forward to this event every year. My daughter understands the cause”. “I love the festive atmosphere”, says Amruta, a new volunteer during the post-event celebration. “It keeps India’s culture alive here and gives the children a chance to celebrate their culture”, she continues. In the classical dance category, Apeksha Panda burned the stage for an encore and won the coveted first place with a scintillating Kathak performance. Her mother, Anima signed up to become a volunteer on the day of the event. She is planning to get Apeksha signed up as a volunteer; and even her brother who is in Caltech. “Oh yes, we have an action center in Bay Area and would love to have him join us”, beamed Raj Jain, a volunteer at the Vibha booth. Arvind Menon, one of the ACCs of Vibha, MN says, “Beyond the dance and music and the energy it brings, this event also builds a sense of community. Not just in Twin Cities but a global community of children, some here, some elsewhere who are going to soon inherit this planet and who will later watch out for each other. And that is really how we should be solving the problems of the world. ” through a sense of shared responsibility.”