To share and care

To share and care

Every year, September 08 is observed as the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. The birth of Mary is considered a miracle. According to ancient scriptures, Mary was born to Joachim and Anne (Y’hoyakhin and Hannah in Hebrew) on September 08. The feast was first celebrated in the East by the Church of Jerusalem, which was adopted by the western church around the seventh century. Ever since, thousands of people observe a novena before the feast. A novena is a prayer that is said for nine days. This year too, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are observing a novena which began on August 31 and will culminate on September 08, which is the day of the feast.

Everyday, the devotees who come to pray offer flowers to Our Lady. But this year’s there’s something different happening at Thane’s St. John the Baptist Church at Jambli Naka. The church realised that the flowers that devotees offer remain fresh only for a day or so, after which they start rotting and have to be disposed of. These flowers cost a lot too. So the parish priest at the church, Father John Rumaeo, made a noble request to the children praying at the Church. He suggested to children that instead of flowers, they should offer useful things that can distributed to the poor. So, by sacrificing a small part of their pocket money, the children are bringing in and offering different items on each day of the novena: Rice, dal (pulses), wheat, biscuits, soaps, sugar, books, pencils and even a little cash. On September 08, these things will be distributed to the poor who gather outside the St John the Baptist High school (SJBHS) in the pavilion area. Shirley Fernandes, a regular at the St John the Baptist Church, said, "This is good thing that the church is doing. It is teaching children to be responsible and to understand their role towards the society of which they are a part."

The rice, dal, biscuits et al may cost these children only part of their pocket money, but in return they are learning an invaluable lesson of caring by sharing. Is there a better way to celebrate Mother Mary’s birthday?

Dressed to kill
It is a known fact that extracurricular activities are as important to the overall development of children as academics. This is true, irrespective of whether the children are normal or special. Perhaps extracurricular activities are more beneficial to children with mental and physical disabilities than normal children.

Friday, September 03, marked the beginning of a unique inter-school fancy dress competition for special children from Thane. There are four age groups and five students from each group will be selected for the finals, which are scheduled to be held in December. Depending on the total number of schools/students who will participate, approximately 35 to 40 students will reach the finals.  

By the time this article is published, the first of the elimination rounds would have taken place and 105 special kids from Jidd School would have come on stage dressed like historical leaders, professionals, renowned sportsmen or even film stars. 15 from among them would have qualified for the finals. Next in line are 110 students from Sri Maa Snehadeep School for special children at Patlipada, Thane.

To ensure fair judging of the competition, only mentally challenged students are being allowed to participate. "The mental faculties of physically challenged children are intact and so they tend to perform better and therefore it would be unfair to mentally challenged children if physically challenged children are allowed to compete," says Sarmistha Chowdhury, who is the member of the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills, the organisation behind the competition. The club is also planning a similar contest for Kamalini and Zaveri Thanawala Schools for Deaf and Dumb. However, this contest will be organised separately.

The organisers invite all special schools from Thane to participate in this competition. They school in-charge may call on 25886538.

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