(Summer Camp Benefits Children of Foster Homes)
Bengaluru: Children of Dream India Network Foster Homes Concluded a week-long Summer Camp here on Sunday (April 29). Curtains came down on activities which lasted for almost nine days for 77 children from 10 foster homes around Bengaluru. The girl children belonged to the age group of 8 to 12 years. Several resource persons conducted different programmes for the enthusiastic children who were found eager to learn novel, creative and innovative items which is meant to go a long way in their future life, said Sr. Jayasree, one of the members in the organizing committee.
Some of the children such as Veronica (Std V), Divya, Varshini and others this reporter talked to said they enjoyed thoroughly and benefitted from the camp. They had outing, games, singing, classes on good manners, how to pray well, visits to Dharmaram College campus which has also Christ University and National Park where they could see for the first time variety of birds, animals and reptiles among others.
The Camp held at the roomy and spacious St. Camilus Study House which was a gift from Fr William, Rector and his team for the children. Out of 37 Foster Homes in Bengaluru, only ten were called to the camp this time. The small ones remain at their respective foster homes or some others were sent to their own homes near and far.
Speaking to the children on the occasion Fr George Edayadiyil CMI, Chancellor of Christ University, said he observed the children were looked after well for them to benefit from all those activities. There is no place like home and the foster homes provided homely atmosphere. He appreciated the work done by Fr Edward Thomas, the Founder and chairman, Sisters and volunteers including Fr William of Camilus Fathers.
Fr George who is also Rector of Dharmaram College said experience of love is the greatest strength. Quoting Jn 3:10, Fr George said God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. He exhorted the children to experience the love of God always through their teachers, foster mothers and other care-takers and those in-charge of them.
Fr George who is a scholar himself spoke of freedom and various other valuable points for the good of the children quoting Albert Einstein and David Adam and his book. Fr George also complimented and thanked all those worked behind for the success of the camp.
Fr Stany SJ, Provincial of Jesuits conveying a message to children likened the children with the roses they presented to each guest. Roses are good and beautiful. So are the children. Like children, Fathers, Sisters and Lay people are all good and beautiful, he drew an analogy between the roses and them. To a query on mosquitos, the children said they bite and spread diseases such as malaria. Fr Stany said honey bee has small wings for its big body, yet bee flies and makes nectar and honey. They work hard and make honey which people take and enjoy. Fr Stany urged the children to make others happy always with their hard work and timely help.
The children went up the stage and spoke out what they learnt and benefitted from the camp. Some of the useful things they learnt included drawing, action songs, how to write good letters, how to keep oneself clean and neat, washing habits, tips on hygiene, to remain healthy, how to speak to elders, to be polite and to follow etiquette always besides several other points. The children appeared happy, cheerful, light-hearted, in high spirits and without any inhibition.
Earlier, Fr Edward Thomas, the founder and chief architect of the entire programme said the children have small homes and big dreams. He said he was happy about the entire programme and activities of the Summer Camp. Fr Edward presented a brief history of the Dream India Network of Foster Homes and how it works besides the contributions of hard-working Sisters and cooperation of many others. He said, eight and 16 children are kept in each institution. Quoting Jesus, he said let little children come to me. Such is the background and experience everyone has when the children are welcomed in their foster homes. Fr Edward who had been associated with children and related programmes for long welcomed special invitees, guests and heads of institutions including men and women provincials and superiors of various congregations around. Some of them included Fr. Stany, president of Karnataka chapter of Congregation of Religious India (CRI) and Jesuit provincial; Fr George E, Chancellor and Rector; Sr Pushpa, provincial, Sr Vilma, provincial, Mr Praveen (politician); Fr Shaju, Fr Albert, Mr Mathew, CEO, Mr Santhosh (teacher), Mr James, Br. Cherian, chairman, BCCRS, Brothers, Sisters and several others both religious and lay persons.
The children performed a number of cultural presentations such as dances, songs, skit and Karaga by Sr Shobha. The children managed the entire programme such as introducers, announcers, and compere.
The two-hour enthralling programme came to a close with vote of thanks by Mr Mathew P V, CEO of Dream India Foster Homes.
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