The founder and mentor of Gift-a-Cake India, Reena Abbasi, talks to Suhita Roy about her 12-year-old daughter Zara and her friends who bake for a cause.
How did the idea of Gift-a-Cake come about?
The Gift-a-Cake venture started in 2015 under the aegis of Abbasi Charitable & Educational Society. My 12-year-old daughter Zara is a baking enthusiast, which came as a surprise to us as no one in our family bakes. She started at the age of seven and initially, we thought it was just a passing phase. But when we saw how she, along with her friends Muskaan and Mehak Arora (both aged 14), was so keen, we decided to take it a step further. And, instead of distributing the cakes among family members and friends, we took them to Samarpan Home, an orphanage in New Delhi. It was a wonderful experience to see our children mingle with others and interact freely with them. Our next step was to bake cakes for kids suffering from cancer. We took Zara, Muskaan and Mehak to CanKids, a pediatric palliative day care centre and transition home. We did research and consulted doctors and gave the cakes only after getting a go-ahead from them. We are planning to make cakes using natural ingredients like honey for the kids soon.
How do the kids manage to bake, visit CanKids and attend school at the same time?
We take our children to CanKids on weekends or during vacations. There are volunteers who take care of the distribution otherwise. The cakes are delivered to various organisations by our volunteers where they also celebrate the children’s birthdays.
We were apprehensive about their reaction, so we explained the situation and condition of kids to them before the meeting. Zara had a lot of questions, but once her curiosity was satisfied, she moved on and behaved normally with the other children.
What is the aim behind your venture?
We wish to inspire children towards selfless service and instill in them a sense of compassion, empathy and caring. And if this journey can be blended with their passion, it can be around for a longer time.
How can people participate in your project?
You can donate a cake, money towards a cake and your time to volunteer spending celebrating the child’s birthday.
Account details for donation:
Account name: “Abbasi Charitable & Educational Society a/c Gift a Cake India”
Bank name: Canara Bank, R.K. Puram, New Delhi, India
Account number: 0347101904819
IFSC code: CNRB0000347
For more, visit www.facebook.com/giftacakeindia