Diwali, the festival of lights and exuberance is celebrated by all of us with pomp and enthusiasm. While we all celebrate this festival with newly purchased clothes and delicious preparations, a few kilometres from our place our tribal brethren are deprived of this happiness. In the rural areas if the villagers even manage to get their daily bread, its Diwali for them. In such circumstances, does it feel right for us to celebrate the festival without sharing a piece of what we have with them ?
To spread the joy of Diwali festivities in the lives of tribals as well, VSM every year organises Diwali SnehBhojan. It is an event which takes our relationship with tribal brothers and sisters to the next level and we receive as much warmth and love from them as much we give. During this visit, our volunteers distribute diwali delicacies among the houses and sarees as ‘Bhaubeej(Marathi)/ Bhaiduj(Hindi)’ gifts to our tribal sisters in tribal villages where VSM has been involved through its work. This year Diwali Snehbhojan was organised on November 6, 2016 at Vihigaon and Khodade. VSM achieved a milestone of distributing around 950+ faral packets and 600+ sarees.
At Vihigaon, around 40 volunteers volunteered to distribute around 600 faral packets and sarees in 500 odd households. The happiness and joy on their brothers and sistrers face was the perfect token of appreciation. Many of the volunteers who lend their helping hand were overwhelmed by the modesty and the innocence of the villagers, indeed much to learn from them. Also, VSM handed over the proceeds from sale of utane packets and other MUSE products to the women self-help groups involved in making of all these products.
At Khodade, which lies a few kilometres from the village of Wada, similar experiences were shared. At this village sessions were arranged for the betterment of different sections of the tribal society. The first session was regarding women’s health and dietary habits by Dr.Shobha Nipunge. The women in the village got an insight about different hygiene and health issues from this session. The second session was a discussion with tribal youth about education and developing affinity towards it. The third session was Diwali special Art and Craft activity conducted by the kids of a few volunteers.
All the volunteers from Vihigaon as well as Khodade gathered at a school in Vihigaon. While sharing their experiences, the expressions on their face and watery eyes spoke it all. “We didn’t give anything to the villagers, instead there is a lot what we got from them. The happiness and joy on their faces is what we are taking home from here to cherish for the whole year” shared Dr. Sugandha Keskar, former Principal, SNDT,Mumbai. Sakhrubhau (our tribal brother) couldn’t hold back his tears as he thanked the VSM on behalf of the villagers.
All the volunteers took oath to serve our tribal friends to th eir level best. Indeed what could have been a better way to celebrate the festival of lights! The glint in the eyes of the villagers as well as the volunteers was brighter than any other diya of diwali and the smiles were sweetest delicacies VSM could devour this Diwali.