BIS #6563 Christmas in Lonavla villages

by Father Blany Pinto for BISMumbai

Keeping with the festive season of Christmas, our social outreach staff has ensured that our adopted villages also indulged in the spirit, understood, felt and benefited from the generosity of the benefactors during the Christmas season. Christmas was celebrated with great enthusiasm in the village of Vaksai. The meaning of Christmas was explained to 40 children which was followed by distribution of goodies, cake snack to sweeten their taste buds and blankets to keep them warm from the chill weather. The blankets were sponsored by Father BarnabeD’souza. The program culminated with biryani being served to the children.

Apart from festive recreation, the children have been progressing well with their studies. Digital platform such as YouTube is being utilised to enhance their learning. Drawing and colouring activities are being conducted regularly. All three coordinators of the three villages had a meeting with regard to the education and study classes following the surge of the virus which drew up to the conclusion that it would not be advisableto force the children to go to the school in the current situation. The children are however heartened with the weekly distribution of Kichdi.

We are also pleased to report a few new achievements that we have managed during the month of December. There is an adivasi village named PatnoosMangaon. 19 students from the village needed school uniform and a benefactor came forward to help them financially with the uniform. Secondly, we have been successful in finding a sponsor for painting of the 2 schools at Mundhavare. Also worth mentioning, at Mundhavare with the help of the panchayat, we had organised various program like craft, tailoring, beautician etc. Attending the courses has helped them to acquire government recognized certificate. It has been a pleasure to see the progresses taking place.

Other outreach efforts to the villages have been that discussion is on with the NGO ‘Project Chirag’ about acquiring solar lamps for the villages. On the medical front, we have also organized a vaccine drive for all the villagers with the help of the Gram panchayat. We have also been ensuring that all the pregnant ladies in the villages are regularly going for their check-up. Children below 5 years are entitled for food by the government. Our outreach staff regularly check if the food is reaching the children in the villages.

In the month of January, the Lions club of Lonavla and Cathrage, will organize an eye check-up camp. Distribution of spectacles will also take place and those suffering from cataract will be operated free of cost.

Last, but not the least, with regard to the water supply in these villages, MLA Sunil Shelke has initiated a project to solve the problem of water scarcity. Leaders of the villages now need to approach the MLA with the problem and the MLA will ensure that the water problem is resolved immediately.

All this has been possible because of the generous benefactors and the dynamic outreach staff – Sonali and Ravi Shelke.