LONAVLA, AUGUST 19, 2008: Maria Ashiana De-addiction and Therapeutic Community, a branch of Shelter Don Bosco celebrated the 61st Independence Day with great zeal and fervour. The theme “Desh Pehla” reverberated right through the day. Beginning with the Flag Hoisting Ceremony at 8:00 am, the programme of the morning was a genuine expression of heartfelt patriotic sentiment. The boys presented a short speech and the song Suno Gaurse Duniyawaalon, Buri nazar na hum pey dalo, Sabse aagey hai hum Hindustani….” The Chief Guest for the Flag Hoisting Ceremony was Mr. A. D. Phadtare, P.S.I, Lonavla Police Station. Speaking during the occasion he said: “You boys have performed with great gusto and enthusiasm, showing us what it means to love our country. We policemen will take this inspiration from you as we go about our duties today and the other days, trying to emulate your example.” Mr. Phadtare was accompanied by four other constables. Later during the day a ‘Patriotic Gathering’ was organized by Maria Ashiana, during which the other local NGOs - Bal Anand Gram, an NGO that works with orphans and Antar Bharati Balgram, an NGO that works for boys and girls deprived of their basic necessities – participated with their wards. Altogether about 48 children including the boys of Maria Ashiana enacted skits, delivered well-prepared patriotic speeches and sang songs honouring Mother India. The entire programme was based on the reality of the street and underprivileged children of the country. They also voiced their desire to get educated, while expressing their aspirations and aims in life. The Chief Guest for this event was Prof. J. O. Bachhav, (HOD – Accounts) of the Lonavla College of Commerce. Lauding the performance of the children he said: “I am impressed with the way you have performed here today. I am very happy that I could witness this event. I will try my best to invite you to perform in the college.” The children and the staff were very pleased with this first-of-a-kind initiative. August 15, 2008 was thus an enjoyable day filled with patriotism and rousing emotions. Added to this, it was time at sundown to conclude the month-long Marian Month which focused especially on the role of a mother in the life of a child. The theme for the month was “Maa mamta se banti hai, janam denae se nahi.” The various activities and competitions were brought to a close with a prayerful celebration, wherein Sr. Vinita and Sr. Jeanne from Kune Mission addressed the boys and Staff.