by Father Rolvin D’Mello for BISMumbai

DBDS Mumbai [Don Bosco Development Society], the Mumbai Salesians’ Province Planning and Development Office organised its Annual International Women’s Day celebration on 08 March 2020, in the Don Bosco Matunga High School undercroft with 1400 women in attendance. The day-long fun, food and frolic programme, was an opportuntity for the women to come together, celebrate womanhood and participate in health and financial literacy workshops.

Mumbai Salesians’ Vice-Provincial Father Ashley Miranda was the chief guest, with other guests of honour – Provincial Economer Father Manuel Murzello, Dr. Suhani Mendonsa Director-Mendonsa Foundation, Jayesh Chandan, President–Don Bosco Alumni Matunga and Shamika Ranade. Other guest Salesians were also present.

The morning was devoted to inspiring messages by the guests and ‘Ideal Self-Help Group’ competition for which 03 groups won cash prizes for their invaluable contribution to society. A specially recorded video message from the members of Associazione Auxilium India based at Seregno-Italy, with a specific focus to intervene for social solidarity by continuing the work-legacy of FMA [Daughters of Mary Help of Christians] nun Sister Camilla Tagliabue, was also screened for the participants.

Dance & cultural entertainment post-lunch with meaningful messages to ‘save a girl child’, ‘gender equality’, ‘save the planet’, and the like, evaluated by Father McEnroe Lopes, Suhani, Shamika and Charlotte, was truly the highlight of the day. One of the co-sponsors, Likee, formerly Like Video, distributed prizes for the 03 most inspiring women from the slums of Mumbai, mentored by DBDS. They also gifted lovely cloth bags to all the women.

Surprise gifts for all the participating women brought the day to a close. Empowering women as a concept is noble but practical implementation is a challenge. Accepting this challenge head-on, the DBDS team has vowed to provide women from the slums of Mumbai an opportunity to make a difference. This was one such occasion to ensure that the women had not just a wonderful time but moreover an enriching time with each other on International Women’s Day