by Shailesh Parmar for BISMumbai

DRISTI [Don Bosco Rural Integrated Social Training Institute] Kapadvanj hosted and oriented 20 NSS [National Service Scheme] cadets, boys and girls, of St. Mary's Higher Secondary School on February 12-13, 2020. Accompanied by their programme officer Girishbhai, the cadets were accommodated at Alvana Muvada, a remote village of the Kapadvanj Block, after a warm welcome and introductory instructions by DRISTI DIrector Father Mayank Parmar.

Part of the annual feature of the NSS, this annual special camp, mandated by the NSS Nodal Agency of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government of India for all NSS Volunteers, is a requirement for certification. On Day 01, the cadets conducted a Health Rally, Family Visit in groups, Health/Hygiene Talk for teenage girls, Oratory activity for boys, Social Skits on cleanliness, addiction, and the like. These were organised in the primary school campus of Alvana Muvada, with a similar programme in the neighbouring Dhodivav and Rupjina Muvada villages. DRISTI also screened an awareness documentary 'Gaam Nathi Koi Panch Nu'.

Beginning with a 'prabat feri' on Day 02, with a nature meditation animated by Father Parmar, breakfast and general cleanliness of the village was the morning session. Then divided into 03 groups, the cadets were given different tasks: assistance at the free medical health camp, activities at Dholivav primary school and activities at Rupjina Muvada primary school. A total of 110 patients participated in the health camp, with free distribution of medicines. Lunch, thanksgiving and evaluation, rounded up the 02 day camp.

The cadets expressed that this was one of the unique experiences they will cherish in their lifetime, while a few others were thrilled with the warmth and hospitality of the villagers who went out of their way to make them feel at home. NSS convenor Girish said, " this is the 4th NSS programme in collaboration with DRISTI and every time we are taken to different villages and each time we really go back with fond memories of the camp. The collaboration is really getting stronger and we want to pursue it with some concrete projects." Father Parmar challenged and appealed to the young cadets to give their time during summer for these underprivileged children of remote villages in Kapadvanj Block. The villagers too expressed sentiments of gratitude for the visit and for undertaking the village cleanliness project.