August 7, 2016
It was a celebration of volunteerism. A 1,000-odd strong crowd of school and college students was present at the Coimbatore Peace Festival 2016 of the Shanti Ashram and the Sarojini Nataraj Auditorium was packed and overflowing on August 6. The festival has three components.
It was a commemoration of the 71st bombing of Hiroshima and rode on the premise of peace and unity. A panel discussion on saying no to violence within families by a cross section of children and youth, a Bharatnatyam performance by students of Shree Natyaniketan School of Dance to the movie version of Bharathiar’s ‘Acham Acham Illai’, a fan dance by students of Vidhya Vanam, Anaikatti, a dance drama on peace and unity by children of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Ajjanur, and a yoga representation on building peace by G-18 Public Charitable Trust children, were tastefully planned and executed to get across the message.
The second part consisted of the launch of the fourth edition of the ‘India Poverty Solutions 2016-17’, the Ashram’s popular initiative. This promotes the habit of saving by children and the saved amount to be used for worthy causes as prescribed by the Ashram based on the need of the hour. This edition promised to reach out to more than the already existing six cities and also take it to three countries.
The third and noteworthy part of the festival was the launch of the year-long 30th anniversary celebrations of Shanti Ashram. And, they were planned in a way to take forward the trademark success formula of the Ashram – volunteerism. The Ashram has launched 30 projects to be implemented by as many volunteers in various fields to include several strata of beneficiaries. This included anything from teaching dance to children from economically weaker background to helping home makers develop terrace gardens.
Even though she was the pillar of the Ashram, its Director Kezevino Aram took pride in attributing its three-decade success to its volunteers.
And, the efforts of the volunteers did not only reflect in the work of the Ashram, but also during the three-hour festival. It was a superbly executed show under the leadership of Vijayaragavan Gopal, Head, Youth Leadership Programme, Shanti Ashram, and had the audience engaged throughout.
The fact that more than 1,000 students from schools and colleges had come to witness the festival and pledge their continued support to the programmes of the Ashram was another reflection of the reach of the volunteers at the institution level.