December, among its many specialities also hosts one of the most spectacular events of Christ University, fondly held and organized by the Centre of Social Action called Milan. It comprises of bringing together all the various project areas children sponsored by CSA. Milan is like a good cup of coffee..addictive and refreshing ..but to enjoy it , your love for it must be genuine. The volunteers come together and work for many days prior to the three day event, just so they can give the wonderful kids coming from different parts of the country, an event to remember.
The first day is the life of the event with all of the kids amalgamating together, practicing, getting comfortable with the surroundings and of course who can forget, making friends with the volunteers. The various committees work effortlessly to bring them to the campus and after that getting them prepped up for the major dance and singing events in the evening that follows.
After the crowd committee settles them down, they are organized into their areas and the show begins with a dhamaka. Chandrika, Gowthami, Jesu , Bhavya and others compeered with full gusto vibrating the entire hall with their energy alone ; what a wonderful beginning that was to the performances that followed. The children were simply magical! There is no other word to describe how beautifully they performed whether it was singing or dancing, theme or non-theme , what they did was so enjoyable and well rehearsed that we fell short of words and spoke with our jaws dropping and hands clapping. All the teams, with their extraordinary make up and costumes enveloped the stage and thundered down energy which didn’t reduce as the night progressed but only increased. Competition was evident among the teams but that didn’t discourage these little wonders, who took the challenge head on and brought even better performances as a comeback.
The non-participants deserve credit as well for being the most supportive audience as they cheered every team with equal enthusiasm. One team had to perform again due to technical difficulties, which sounds pitiful but the audience cheered like there is no tomorrow. After the children were done for the night, the volunteers gifted the kids for their performances with a dance and a play which was scripted in five different languages being sensitive to the diverse crowd. The audience once again welcomed the play with showers of praise, spreading the happiness around contagiously. Thus the first day reached its conclusion, leaving the volunteers and the children brimming with anticipation and enthusiasm for the sporting events that followed the day after.
Reported by: Ruchira Raghavan, IPSEng
It was 2.00pm on a Saturday afternoon and we were waiting eagerly for a team building session to begin. The workshop held on 26th June 2013, was to be conducted by Mr Dominic and his arrival was much awaited. There were volunteers from Drishti and Publications present at the session. We came with certain expectations and assumptions about how the session might turn out to be, but boy, were we wrong?
There were a number of activities which were both fun and reflective. It helped us build more cohesion as a group which is essential for an organization like CSA. One such activity was when we had to walk around and suddenly were asked to stop. We had to interact with the volunteer ahead of us. This helped us in easy communication. There were similar activities that took place and they helped us get to know better than the usual ‘ Hello’ and ‘Good-bye’ we often use
We were able to share a slice our lives with another person and also listen to another person doing the same. This made me reflect on the art of reciprocation in communication. We had an opportunity to share our views and reflections about these exercises with our trainer. Then we moved on to play a game called ‘Myth’s and Truth’s’ which received active, enthusiastic participation from everyone present. I understood a tit bit more about human nature through this game.
The session came to a closure at 5.00pm and it was a memorable three hours we spent together building unity, cohesion and also self-reflection. There was a great deal of interaction, sharing, empathetic listening and fun. This team building activity was a great beginning for lots more to come. I hope CSA will provide us with more opportunities to learn and to be more reflective about ourselves and others.
Reported by: Avani Jain, I PSEng; Edited by: Nivendra Uduman, II MPCO
It’s that time of year again, where Centre for Social Action(CSA) welcomes it’s new members into its folds. There were eager faces around me as I sat, waiting with curiosity for the orientation to begin.
The prelude to the orientation involved us being asked to reflect on and write about our reasons for joining CSA. Listening to some of the reflections of my fellow volunteers, I realized that their reasons and my motive for joining this organization were similar. They were, to serve, and also to empower one’s self with skills, knowledge, awareness and growth.
The programme began with a video depicting the social realities of today and it provided us a certain readiness, of knowing what lay ahead. The screening of the video was followed by some speeches elucidating the vision and key functions of the organization. There was also a very enriching talk by Prof.Johny Joseph, fondly known as ‘ Johny Sir’ within the realms of CSA.
Now, it was time for some enjoyment. We played a game called ‘ Human, Tiger, Hunter’ for which we were divided into two large teams and had to work collectively to defeat the opposing team. This time of fun and camaderie was followed by group meetings that we had to attend.
CSA has Activity Centre, Drishti and Publications each with their own legacy and there is also a creativity team and a photography club. We were introduced to our group leaders and also learnt of Chatting Over Coffee which is an open discussion forum held in the University premises. We were introduced to the troop leaders and it is comforting to know, that they will be there.
The orientation came to an end, with emotions soaring, and a great number of passionate volunteers embarking on a journey that they will always hold special.
Reported by: Srishti Banerjee, I PSEng ; Edited by: Nivendra Uduman, II MPCO
On 14th June 2013, a photo exhibition was organized and a stall put up within the college premises to sensitize freshers and the newly registered volunteers on CSA’s functioning.
The photo exhibition, with its photos displayed on a 3D cube, showcased moments captured from last year’s CSA activities — ranging from Mahila Diwas, Talents Day, Tree plantation Drive, Gracias, Waste Management Rally, Sports Day to Rural Camps in Kolar and Hoskote.
A symbolic star hanging at the entrance of the stall displayed details about CSA and its initiation, while a year book displayed its vision and mission. In the stall, a caption contest was held, in which those visiting the stall were invited to caption pictures of waste management. This served as a subtle sensitization to act on the same, and was received well by all.
The main attraction of the stall, however, was the tree designed by the volunteers describing Activity Centre, Drishti and Publications — the three main organs of CSA.
The tree survived till the end despite heavy winds; the book and star were patiently read by all those who stopped by. All in all, the stall and the exhibition attracted attention and appreciation, serving its intended purpose.
Reported by: Sajan Tom, II PSEng; Edited by: Mridhula Murali, IIPSEng
Prayatna ’13 on February 24th saw the volunteers from both the campuses being united to spread awareness on waste segregation and management in the community.
An inspirational talk by Johny Sir and an inaugural speech by the Chief Executive Engineer of LR Nagar marked the start of the campaign. We started off the rally from west LR Nagar and proceeded towards Rajendra Nagar through Ambedkar Nagar, shouting slogans and being accompanied by kids and adults of the area. On the way, the Eco Club kids of the project areas performed street plays, doing an amazing job despite the scorching sun.
Once the rally got over, the volunteers paired up to visit and sensitize households about waste segregation. Though skeptical at first, we did get a fair response from the residents. They admitted that they were guilty for dumping their trash, knowing well that it was an unhygienic and dangerous practice. However, as the BBMP trash collectors were not regular in their job and since they didn’t know what else to do with the waste, they did the next best thing possible—to dump it where everyone else did.
By the end of the campaign, we were positive that at least a few people would follow our lead, breaking the walls of helplessness and self-pity on their own.
–Reported by Suganya Velumani, I PME; Edited by Vidya M G, II CEP
Talents Day on 10th February was another exciting event on the CSA calendar where the kids from the project areas showcased their innate talents onstage. And, like every other time, the volunteers were up and about and had headed towards the respective areas by 8 am to pick the kids up. Meanwhile, the other volunteers were preparing for the day.
The kids reached the campus by 9.30 am and were seated in the PU quadrangle. The day began with the inaugural ceremony, where the kids, facilitators and volunteers lit the lamp, marking the beginning of the event.
Creative Writing, Rangoli, Drawing and Dumb Charades competitions were happening simultaneously, and the kids took part in all of them enthusiastically.
After refreshments, Public Speaking and Quiz were conducted. Then happened the most exciting event of the day—dance. The kids were amazing dancers who enjoyed dancing and the audience cheering for them.
After the prize distribution, the kids were sent back to their respective areas. At the end of the day, everyone was happy, no matter who won or lost.
–Reported by Sapna Keeliputti, I BCZ; Edited by Vidya M G, II CEP
CSA’s stall for Career Day (23rd January 2013) covered minute details about the organization, ranging from self-help groups to child sponsorship, rural exposures to awareness campaigns, events and camps to foreign exchange programmes.
The ‘Big Book’ detailing the mission, vision and objectives of CSA was the major attraction of the stall. Photographs of CSA’s events, testimonials from volunteers and foreign-exchange students, and 3D models depicting the various branches of CSA enriched the stall.
Around 200 students and staff from the junior college and the university visited the stall and filled in the feedback forms. The stall played an important role in informing and sensitizing the management and students of the university on the work and reach of CSA.
Reported by: Shobhit Khaitan, II B.Com; Edited by: Anupama John, I EPS
For novices, Gracias is a day when children from CSA’s project areas express gratitude to their sponsors through their marvellous cultural performances onstage. The event, scheduled for 23rd December at Christ University, had its wheels turning weeks in advance.
Sorting out the intricacies of the big day was a whole lot of fun, providing for an occasion to bond with other CSA members, forming a viable synergy that motivated us to make Gracias a huge success.
We were all on our toes on the day of the event. Handling around 500 vibrant kids and sequencing the performers for their performances was no easy task and kept us very busy.
Seeing the kids perform was a real treat for us. Their self-expression through art was mindboggling; their confidence was commendable.
The kids were then taken for lunch and my heart filled with joy and warmth seeing them eat to their full. I realized that some of them were too poor to even afford to buy shoes. However, despite not having those privileges, they were content with their lives, happy, and full of innocent smiles.
Gracias provided for a firsthand experience to know more about how the coordinators train and try to better the lives of the children whom we take care of. As for the volunteers, Gracias was the fruit of our hard work, weeks of preparation, minute organisation and running around. I felt proud of being part of CSA, of being able to bring a change to peoples’ lives, of being the reason behind hearty smiles on those little faces. I was simply thrilled and my joy knew no bounds.
Reported by: Om Nirvan Bhoyroo, I EPS; Edited by: Mridhula Murali, I PSEng
Photo credits: Archana Dinesh, II PSEng
It was time for CSA to bid adieu to the Norwegian interns who had been part of the Christ family for a year. This was the last time the Norwegians would be in the university as the tenure of the internship programme had been over, said Johny sir as he shared his thoughts.
The CSA volunteers lightened the sombre mood of the farewell with songs and dances. Mr Daniel, the saxophone teacher, played a piece on the saxophone. The teachers and students reflected on their experiences in India. The photography interns put up an exhibition where they had captured the essence of rural life, families, weddings and food.
The final segment of the programme gave us an opportunity to interact with our Norwegian guests. They were thrilled to take back a slice of India with them. It was indeed a great experience for both the Norwegians and the CSA volunteers.
–Priyanka Chakraborty, I PSEng
On 24th November 2012, around 30 CSA volunteers from Christ University participated in the cycle rally organized by CRY (Child Rights and You). The high-spirited three-kilometre-campaign from UB City Mall to Cubbon Park was conducted to support CRY’s initiative to promote free and quality education for all children up to the age of 14 as per government regulations.
Although the Right to Education (RTE) Act compelling the same has been passed, there are still certain areas awaiting its implementation. The cycle rally was an innovative and effective way of bringing to the notice of the government and the people the need and right of every child to be able to stand a chance at being educated—a privilege that only a few get and the rest deserve.
The experience was an enjoyable and fulfilling one, for it is not often that one gets the opportunity to work for a social cause while having the time of his life. We pledged to support the organization in every possible way we could to make a difference in the lives of children—the future of tomorrow. In order to ensure that, we had to be the proactive youth of today; it was with this hope and commitment that with bright yellow caps on our heads and even brighter yellow paper windmills on our cycles, we rode off into the sunset.
– Debanjali Saha, I PSEng