These models and projects are created by the students of Don Bosco High School (Matunga) as a part of school curriculum. In a sense this is a “student helping a student” activity. On one hand it promotes curiosity, creativity, problem solving, team work, etc in students on the other hand it helps in better understanding of scientific and natural phenomena, aids teachers is communication, explanation and evaluation.
Fr Rolvin D’Mello (Executive Director – DBDS) said, “We are extremely grateful to the students of Don Bosco Matunga; if not of their efforts, the underprivileged kids from the slums would never have access to such good project models for their learning.” So far DBDS has donated these models to Sion Municipal school, Korabaaa Mithagar BMC school at Wadala, and MHADA BMC school at Antophill.
The recipient school’s principals and teachers have appreciated this initiative of DBDS and are using them in their classes. They also have expressed their sentiments of gratefulness to the staff and students to Don Bosco High School, Matunga.
Mrs LalitaChaudhri (Project Co-ordinator) and Mrs. VibhavariKamble (Social Worker) were the resource persons for the session. Educating adolescent girls on reproductive health becomes important as these girls are in a transient phase from childhood to adulthood and they undergo many physical, psychological and emotional changes. The session dealt with anatomy of reproductive organs, early marriage, HIV/AIDS, STDs, nutrition, personal hygiene etc. The parents of the participants has appreciated the approach of Don Bosco on this issue.
The fair was meant for youth who are in the age group of 16 to 25 years studying or dropped out of school and looking for guidance in career options. 165 girls and boys from various slum pockets of Mumbai participated in the event. Majority of children were from the families where there is no one to guide them.
Mrs Surekha Pednekar (Coordinator – DBDS) spoke about the various courses that are conducted by DBDS at Matunga and in the various slum pockets of Mumbai.
In this event, DBDS had put up a stall where Mr Sunil Pandre (staff – DBDS) and Cleric Jeswin Mastan counselled 65 youth on various career options at DBDS and jobs available in the Market. It was a face to face, personal counselling on career in government, corporate and self-employment. It was quite an enriching experience for DBDS and the youth who participated in the Career Guidance Fair.
The Program started with lighting a lamp and singing a welcome song by the students from the evening remedial classes. Mrs. Kiran Moghe (President - Janwadi Sangathna), Ms. Nandini Jadhav (Chairperson - Anti-superstition Act, Pune), Mr. Karane (Corporator - Yerwada), Fr. Nelson Carvalho (Rector - Don Bosco Youth Centre), Fr Vincent Rasquinha (Project Incharge) and Mrs. Sulbha Shirsagar (Ex Corporator - Yerwada) were the guests for the programme.
Welcoming the participants and guests, Fr Nelson greeted everyone on the occasion of International Women’s day and encouraged them to unite together for their welfare. In her address, Mrs. Kiran Moghe laid down the importance of women in society and need for building better society through gender equality.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Karne Gurugi informed about the various government schemes available for the women and how they can take advantage of these schemes. He also shared his ideas on how women can make the slums alcohol free as alcoholism is one of the major reasons behind domestic violence and broken families. Mrs. Sulbha Shirsagar spoke about the importance of SHGs and how SHGs can be strengthened to become a medium for women empowerment.
This was followed by sharing experiences by participants where they sang songs and danced to celebrate the event. The programme ended with serving lunch and presentation of a gift to everyone as memorabilia for the event.
An awareness rally on “Beti Bachao (save the girl child)”, witnessed the participation of 205 students and teachers from the Jai Bhavani Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Chinchwad. The aim of this rally was to create awareness among people regarding girls’ education to bring about a transformation in the society. The rally started from the school and made its way through the slums of Phule Nagar, Datta Nagar and Ram Nagar in Chinchwad. At different locations children presented short talks on the need for girls’ education and raised slogans in support of saving the girl child. The rally ended at Don Bosco- Chinchwad where the children were served snacks.
In the afternoon, 220 slum-dwelling women gathered at the Don Bosco Chinchwad campus to celebrate “International Women’s Day.” Renowned local dignitaries graced the event, including Dr. Nandini Joshi (Principal - Lokmanya College ), Dr. Amruta Bakshi (Professor- Lokmanya College), Mrs. Sundana Pandit (Supervisor- St. Andrews School), Mrs. Rajani & Mrs. Vrasha Sawant (Teachers- Ajanata Nagar School), Mrs. Sulakshna Kurne (Supervisor-PCMC Nagarvasti Vibag ), Adv. Dhanshri Kadam (women’s rights activist) and Fr Corlis Gonsalves, Director Don Bosco Chinchwad.
Games and cultural programmes followed soon after with girls from the slums presenting 4 dance performances, enthrallingly awesome and entertaining. Musical Chairs, Ukhane Competition and a game of Bucket-ball, brought up tea and snacks for everyone. Prizes were then distributed to the winners with each participant receiving commemorative gifts. Fr Corlis proposed the ‘vote of thanks’ and expressed the hope that women will continue to emerge successful in their societal endeavours.
The programme began with the lighting of the lamp and was followed by a variety cultural programme on the theme “unity in diversity.” Women presented the traditional dances of various states dressed in colourful attire, dancing to the folk tunes and lyrics.
Addressing the gathering, Fr Rolvin stressed the need to build equality among sons and daughters in the family. He emphasized, “the perception of society must change towards the girl child.” This was followed by a short documentary on “oppression of women” highlighting how women were denied their rights for centuries.
Mrs Jagruti Patil (Coordinator – Roshni) being the main organizer of the event thanked all the women and the others who had helped in the Women’s Day Celebration. The programme ended with a Gujarati dance and a sumptuous dinner sponsored by Tulsi SHG, which manages canteens at three hospitals in Baroda city.
Fr Rolvin D’Mello (Executive Director, DBDS) welcomed the dignitaries and all the women participants. He then invited the entire gathering to remember women who are victims of different violence. After a short prayer Mrs. Arundhati Gawde spoke about the importance of women’s day and the need for women to be leaders in the community. She shared her vast knowledge and experience to inspire women to be the change agent to empower oneself and others in their neighborhood. Mrs Mangla Naik spoke about the government programmes and policies and how women can benefit from these government schemes. She also stressed on the need for women to come forward to claim their entitlements under various schemes.
Simultaneously 493 women took benefit of the free medical camp which was held in collaboration with Lilavati Hospital. The camp began at 8.30 am in which a team of specialized doctors along with paramedical staff screened the women for various ailments. There were variety of specialties available and all the 493 women got a chance to avail of all the specialties; along with free medicine for a month.
Sumptuous lunch was served to participants at 1pm. Post lunch, “Vocational Skill Certification” ceremony was held for the students who underwent vocational training in Beauty culture, Mehandi, Computer and English speaking. Mr. Balasaheb Kakad (Sr. Inspector, Matunga Police Station) and Fr Savio D’Souza (Rector of St. Dominic Savio Church, Antop Hill) were the guests of honor for the afternoon session. 384 students were felicitated in the ceremony. This was followed by various cultural programme, dance and street plays on women issues. It was a memorable fun filled day which ended with a promise by every women to care and share with each other. Evening snacks were served at the end event at 6.00pm.
About 150 adults and children, all from poorly built Laxminagar Slum were screened for various eye ailments by the doctors. This eye camp was organized by Don Bosco in association with H.V. Desai Hospital, Pune. A specialized team of Doctors and Paramedics screened the patients for vision disorders such as Cataract including short sight, long sight etc. People with eye infections were given eye drops, those with vision problems were given spectacles at highly subsidized price of Rs. 60 only. Eight patients were identified with Cataract and were immediately referred to H.V. Desai Hospital for a surgery. Along with the eye check-up the doctors also took a session on “How to take care of eyes” and “Eye Donation”.
The FREE GENERAL HEALTH CAMP on 28th February was held in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Model School located in Bopodi slum. About 281 men, women and children were benefited in this health camp. A team of Specialist Doctors and Nurses in Gynecology, Pediatrics, ENT and Internal Medicine screened the people attending the health camp. In addition to this, free Blood Pressure Checkup, BMI Checkup was also carried out and free medicines were given to ailment diagnosed patients.
Supervising these two camps, Ranjana Pandit (project Coordinator of Don Bosco) commented that “We organized these health camps after surveying the slum and poor health facilities in the slum. We will follow-up with patients and hospital after these camps.”
Mrs. Rekha Vanjare (one of the patient) after receiving the medicines said “this free camp was really required in this slum as health facilities are poor in this area and private doctor’s fees are high.” The camp closed in evening where the beneficiaries thanked the doctors and Don Bosco for their services.
This session also educated them of reproductive and child health. In the second part of the session Lalita spoke about the safe and effective birth control methods. There was question and answer session at the end in which ladies asked many questions related to their personal and child health.
All the beneficiaries were from poor and needy families of the slums who can’t afford private health care services. Drs. Amruta Bakshi and Vijyalaxmi Sawant along with other junior doctors, interns and qualified team examined the people during this health camp. This camp had several specialities: rheumatic arthritis, anaemia, skin, menstrual irregularities, respiratory illness (cough / cold / migraine), gastric problem, worms in children, calcium deficiency, joints pain, etc were identified, examined and treated. Some patients were even referred to Lokmanya hospital for further treatment.
The beneficiaries were extremely grateful to Don Bosco and AXA for this golden opportunity provided to them – they also placed on record their sincere thanks to Lokmanya Medical College.