BIS #7132 Teaching Children to Share at Chhotaudepur

By Fr Chris Ferreira for BISMumbai

The students at Don Bosco English Medium School, Chhotaudepur, had a belated Christmas donation drive on 12 January 2024. This was a one-of-a-kind event that brought out the true essence of Christmas while responding to the needs of the local community.

The United Nations, at the behest of the Government of India, declared 2023 the International Year of Millets, promoting the theme ‘Healthy Millets, Healthy People’.  In keeping with this theme, the Principal of Bosco Kids Kindergarten and the English Medium School, Fr Chris Ferreira, proposed to the students that they celebrate the Christmas season of love by sharing food grains with the poor. He proposed each student contribute some millet, pulse, semolina or sugar, even as little as 500 grams if possible. 

Starting from 22 December 2023, students put in their mites for two weeks and ended up collecting a whopping 300 kilogrammes of food grains. The village of Ambala was identified as the recipient of the children’s generosity. The villagers are dhanaks who live without any savings; their community occupation is pottery ware, but most of the year, they are out in the cities working as daily wage labourers since they barely have any means of sustenance in the village.

A database of 50 needy families in a distant village was soon prepared, and after packing rations out of the donated foodgrains for those families, the teachers went to distribute them in the village. As a sign of gratitude, the villagers gifted a mud utensil, which is a part of their community occupation, to the school. Fr Ferreira remarked, “In the years to come, the school will win many laurels and trophies in sports and other fields, but this earthen vessel will be remembered as the school’s first trophy. A trophy is won due to the contribution of a few players in a team, but we have received this vessel because every child has made a contribution to a noble cause.”