BIS #7166 International Women’s Day Celebrations

By Fr Chris Ferreira and Mr Martin Fernandes for BISMumbai

On 8 March 2024, the Past Pupils Unit at Don Bosco, Chhotaudepur, organised a Women’s Day celebration for tribal women from the villages of Chhotaudepur at Don Bosco, Fatehpura. 

The programme commenced with the arrival of women in their rathwi finery and tribal jewellery to the beats of the local dholia with great enthusiasm. Of their generosity, each group contributed money and donated cereals and milk for the event at the registration table. This community sharing was truly a characteristic so peculiar among tribals. With the lighting of the lamp and a graceful prayer dance by the boarding girls of the Aradhana Sadan Sisters, the presence of the Almighty was invoked and thanked for blessing the women of Chhotaudepur. Fr George Carlos, the Rector, welcomed the women present and greatly appreciated the efforts of the local past pupils unit that took up the organisation of this event.

Dr Jigisha Rathava, a young medical officer, was the chief guest for the occasion. She began her speech with gratitude to the Fathers and Sisters since she was educated at Don Bosco Gujarati Medium School, Chhotaudepur, and was a boarder in the Sisters’ boarding. Reminiscing about her memories, she said, “I think on this occasion, it is my bounden duty to thank every grandfather, father, husband, brother, and the Salesians here, who give young girls and women the space and freedom to achieve their ambitions, and treat them as co-equals in the family and society.”

The guest of honour, Ms Chetnaben Vaidya from the Chhotaudepur Child and Mother Department, presented the women with different schemes that the government offers to women in fields spanning from education to marriage. The other guest speakers for the occasion were alumni of the Gujarati Medium School itself from different walks of life. They spoke of opportunities for women in the defence forces, government jobs, and the sports sector.

There was a special dance on a local folk song by the girls of the Gayatri Maa Nursing College run at Don Bosco Fatehpura by Mr Tejalsinh Rathwa, an alumnus of the school. Later, Head Inspector Ms Jignasha Patel addressed the women affectionately, assuring them of full support from the police, who are always ready to be at their service. Fr Chris Ferreira invited the women to enrol their children in the newly established Bosco Kids Kindergarten and Don Bosco English Medium School through an upcoming camp in the summer.

As the women returned home, doctors who were past school pupils did a health check-up of all the 400 women present and sent them home with medicines for them and their family members.

The St John Bosco Borivali Social Cell, Prayas Kendra, held an event on 7 March 2024, dedicated to celebrating womanhood and honouring the remarkable achievements of women in our society. The event featured spirited games and lively dance performances under the leadership of Ms Muskan Ansari and Ms Sushma Davade. The event's success was made possible through the generous support and cooperation of Fr Solomon Rapol, whose unwavering encouragement and approval paved the way for its realisation. 

Beyond its celebratory aspects, the International Women's Day celebration served as a platform for women to come together, share their experiences, and celebrate their achievements.