Bengaluru: Dream India Network organized ‘Christmas Sangama 2017’ for children of Dream India Foster Homes at Mount Carmel College, here on Sunday, December 17. Children of about twenty Foster Homes participated in the well-organized celebrations.
Dr Shalini Rejneesh, IAS, Secretary, Education Department, who was the chief guest, speaking on the occasion called upon the children to have dreams to become doctors, engineers and to attain other such levels. Dr Shalini, 1989 IAS batch women topper who has received several awards, prizes and felicitations urged the children to have good dreams to achieve the goals. Dr Shalini who handles Sakala has done MBA from Latrobe University, Australia, Ph. D from Mangalore University and MA Psychology from Punjab University. She is a gold medalist for BA and MA. Dr Shalini who was principal Secretary of various Departments, Government of Karnataka, exhorted the students to have dreams for highly placed jobs for a secure future. She posed a question to the children on what Jesus had done during his life time. All know about it and she encouraged them to do such jobs as Jesus had done at least during this Christmas. Dr Shalini also wished them all to make use of the opportunities for studies and other activities so as to build a career and to come up in life.
Fr Edward Thomas SDB, the Founder and mentor of Dream India Network while welcoming the guests and others said Adam and Eve were in a paradise. He made an appeal to the children to make such paradise by them to be happy, to make peace and to spread the love of God. Jesus who is God came to this earth to tell that all should love each other and to give stress to God’s love among all people. Fr Edward who handled earlier child care and various other children-related activities and social problems under Government of Karnataka said Christmas is a spiritual movement and not a caste, creed or religion based celebration as such. Christmas should be other-oriented celebration of love which Jesus reminds all and to be enacted repeatedly not only yearly but in every person’s day to day life. Fr Edward who is a dynamic force behind the foster homes said Dr Shalini goes out of her way to help children and the foster homes in various ways. She offered part of her own office for Dream India Foster Homes when the Director denied space in M S Building. Fr Edward was full of accolades for Dr Shalini for her support, encouragement and guidance.
The chief guest and other guests of honour lighted the specially made candles to symbolize Jesus as light of the world. Among other guests of honour included Dr K Mathai, KAS, Ivan Colasso, Rajendra, P M Mathew and Sr Arpana, Principal, Mount Carmel Degree College.
Mathew CEO of Dream India Foster Homes giving a Christmas message stressed two points. Jesus was born in a manger. He chose to be born among donkeys and cows indicating his humility and identifying himself with the poor. Jesus advocated loving one another as God loves each and every one. Jesus exhorted all to create paradise on earth. In an analogy, Mathew, a full time facilitator, conveyed and emphasized the importance of sharing. He said there was a girl by name Gowri who prayed before going to sleep. She prayed for God to appear to her and to speak to her personally. She was disappointed as it did not happen.
Gowri saw a boy crying as he was very hungry. She gave him the chocolate she had and she felt happy. Again she saw a woman shivering due to cold. Gowri gave her shawl to the shivering woman. She could not see God anywhere. But God appeared to her that night and embraced her. God was wearing the same shawl she had given to the shivering woman. God looked benevolent and kind. God comes to us in the form of ordinary people. As children, Mathew urged them, to be obedient to superiors, elders and teachers. As children, he said, they could also share the chocolates and such other things with others.
The message for the adults, he said, the Christmas candle gives away light all the time, going smaller and smaller and finally disappears. All need to become smaller for others and discover the joy of children, thereby hearts to be filled with peace, joy, love and happiness during this Christmas.
The Foster Homes and children participated included Anugraha Children’s Home, Satgamaya Children’s Home, JMJ Snehasadan Children’s Home, Katherine Children’s Home, Krupa Children’s Home, Nativity & Carmel Ghar, Louisa Home, Kolbe Boys’ Home, Srushti Children’s Home, Provindence Home, Claverian Children’s Home, Navajeevan balavikas, Navajeevan Children’s Home, Preethisadan Children’s Home Nav Jyothi Children’s Home, Sarayu Trust and Sparsha, Carmel Bhavan and Prajyothi Children’s Home.
The children performed skits, dance, carols, action songs, mono acts, magic show and speeches on Christmas. Programmes were both in Kannada and English.
Several guests, special invitees and sponsors were honoured with flowers, shawls, mementos and gifts. Some of the guests and children this scribe spoke to expressed extreme happiness and delight. The children were seen in high spirits, well-disciplined, following the instructions of the Sisters, teachers and volunteers.
About 300 children looked after by different Congregations of nuns and put up in various Foster Homes spread all over the city received Christmas Gifts prior to their dispersal. Sr Shobha compered the entire programme which was attended by people belonging to other religions as well. Sr Jayasree was the programme coordinator. The Christmas Sangama 2017 began and ended with prayer songs.
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