Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Chris Valentino sdb
LONAVLA, AUGUST 19, 2008: Maria Ashiana De-Addiction and Therapeutic Centre, a branch of Shelter Don Bosco co-ordinated and organized “Mission National Flag” in order to pick up the Indian Flags discarded by the public immediately following the Independence Day. Three local NGOs, Manshakti, Antar Barathi Balgram and Bal Anand Gram participated in this noble mission, along with the boys and staff of Maria Ashiana. On the morn of August 16, 2008, armed with banners and shouting slogans, the boys from Maria Ashiana proceeded in a rally towards the Police Station, where the other rallyists joined them. The town of Lonavla witnessed a huge congregation of marginalized children gather at the town-square, just in front of the Police Station. Akshay from Manshakti delivered an eloquent speech on the significance and importance of the National Flag. Recalling the memory of the martyrs and the patriots who made it possible for us to achieve Independence from Colonial rule, Akshay evoked strong patriotic emotion. He stressed the need to respect and honour the National Flag, rather than treat it as another consumer-product to be used, abused and disposed! Mr. Francis of Maria Ashiana co-ordinated the entire programme. The boys went around significant places such as the Railway Station, Bus Depot and the Marketplace picking up, collecting the discarded and trampled upon National Flags. “Raise the Dropped”, “Pick up the Neglected”, “Lift up the Fallen Flags”, “Bharatmata ki Jai” were the slogans that rent the air. Despite the incessant rains, the zest and zeal of the boys in this peculiar mission was commendable. The ‘Mission National Flag’ was brought to conclusion with a short prayer for Mother India. Several passers-by stopped on their way and paid attention to these boys of the street taking to the street for a social cause concerning the Nation. The event has also been covered with great interest by the local press, with good support from the ‘police uncles.’ Way to go…. Maria Ashiana…!!

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