Chris Valentino sdb
LONAVLA, AUGUST 27, 2008: Shouts of encouragement, an ambient of camaraderie and the blaring of loud music was reason enough to know that the boys and staff at Maria Ashiana De-Addiction and Therapeutic Centre, Lonavla were up to something out of the extraordinary, more than the normal. With great enthusiasm and pumped up energy, the festival of Janmashtami or Dahi Handi was celebrated on August 24. The rang-birangi mahaul had everyone out in the open with the sure-footed youngsters vying to reach the handi. Undaunted by the many deterrents, the boys lived it up with cheerful glee. Later in the evening, the boys and staff participated in a similar function organized by the Manshakti Foundation, Lonavla. Various other NGOs also took part in the festivities besides Maria Ashiana. The evening consisted of informative sessions that dealt with topics such as Peace, Unity and Progress of Humankind with reference to the life of Krishna. Mr Chandrakant Sansare of Manshakti Foundation and Ms Amruta, a freelance Social Worker addressed the boys and girls. The children were treated to an entertainment session comprising games, eats and of course the breaking of the Dahi Handi. The following day, August 25, Mr Chandrakant Sansare a resource volunteer with Manshakti, accompanied by Mr. Mahesh Dalvi and Mr. Balu Kawde visited Maria Ashiana and interacted with the staff and the boys. Addressing the boys in Marathi, Mr. Sansare spoke about personality development and the need to educate oneself with special focus on improvement of mental concentration. Making use of different materials to attract the attention of the boys, he also conducted a therapeutic session, commonly referred to as Light Therapy. The boys listened with rapt attention and asked questions clarifying their doubts. Chocolates and sweets distributed to the boys at the end of the session, reaffirmed that all’s well that ends well! Many of the boys, as also the staff, were very impressed with the informative session. Some of the boys remarked: “Bada achha laga… agar hum nischay ke saath kadam uthaayein toh zindagi mein bahut kuch kar saktein hain;” “Thank you… aise programme se humein bahut madat milta hai.” Sunshine or incessant rains, Maria Ashiana continues to rock on…!!