by Father Richard Burkhao for BISMumbai

Don Bosco Waluj Aurangabad organized its 2nd Annual Bal Melawa on 01 March 2020 for approximately 400 youngsters from 20 villages, from Gangapur Taluka, Aurangabad District. They were in the age group of 06–13 and all these young people study in 20 of the VEP - Village Education Programme centers.

The programme began with a short prayer service invoking God’s blessings on all those present. Our Chief Guest for the day Father Edwin D’souza-MumbaiSalesians Province Procurator, was introduced and felicitated. In his address Father D’souza warmly exhorted the children to dream big and make efforts to achieve those dreams saying, "you should take advantage of the tuition facilities provided, always remembering that there are other youngsters who are not privileged to have this facility provided to them." Father Manuel Murzello-MumbaiSalesians Economer was the Guest of Honor, and while addressing the gathering, focused on the difficulties in the life of Johnny Bosco who struggled to avail of educational facility in his time. He highlighted the term 'Earn and Learn' which was the highpoint of his student life.

This was followed by an exciting and a fun-filled fete games manned by the parish youth of St. Alphonsa Parish, Bajaj Nagar. Most of the youngsters carried away prizes, the fruit of their efforts at the games stall. After lunch there was a cultural programme where each VEP centre staging an item.

Towards the late afternoon the youngsters were taken back to their respective villages. The teachers accompanied the youngsters to their homes and reported the same to the fathers.

It was a day of fun and frolic for the youngsters. They were entertained, played exciting games and carried away fond memories besides treasured prizes. Shri Hulgire, Principal at Padmpur VEP Centre, commented, “I have never seen such a wonderful and systematic event organised for the children of Zilla Parishad schools. I am really touched by the sacrifice and tireless efforts of the Don Bosco institution.”