12th January, Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, has always essentially been a special day for volunteers of Vivekanand Seva Mandal who are always inspired by the ‘Seva’ (service) philosophy of the great warrior-monk Swami Vivekananda. Usually, volunteers of Vivekananda Seva Mandal celebrate Swami Vivekananda Jayanti with a Blood Donation Camp on a Sunday, closest to 12th of January. But this year we took a step forward towards expanding the birth anniversary celebrations in duration as well as depth. We celebrated the entire week from 8th Jan to 15th Jan 2017 as “YOUTH WEEK” on account of Swami Vivekananda’s 154th birth anniversary with an intention to spread the enlightening thoughts of Swamiji and contribute to building a stronger youth in our own small way.
Discussions and Sessions for youth empowerment
The week started with an inspiring lecture by our senior karyakarta Mr. Vinod Deshpande at Vidyarthi Utkarsha Mandal,Mumbai on 8th January 2017 which focused on the teachings of Vivekananda.
At Dnyanmandir, a series of six lectures was organized to highlight the qualities of an ideal youth and orient the youth towards imbibing these qualities. The topics of these seminars were: ‘An Ideal Youth’-a session by Shri.Ajinkya Navare, a PhD in karmayoga; ‘Chatrapati Shivaji Mahraj’; ‘Konkan Railway-An engineering feat’; ‘Tarunani tarunan sarkhe asave’(How a youth should be ) from a pre-recorded speech by Shri.Vivek Ghalsasiji and ‘Swamiji’s message to the youth’.
Book Stalls across Dombivli
The message of Swami Vivekanand was further spread among residents of Dombivli by arranging book stalls at five places across Dombivli. Various books propagating Swamiji’s thoughts, his philosophy were made available at these stalls. The one at Model College especially received a teeming response from young and enthusiastic college students. In all 282 books were sold through these book stalls on a single day.
Sowing Swamiji’s thoughts in minds of school children-the youths of tomorrow
With the motive of spreading the empowering thoughts and philosophy of Swamiji among the school kids who will be the youths of tomorrow, NALANDA team also conducted various activities at different schools involved with NALANDA Project. Story telling competitions, creative activities and essay writing competitions based on the theme of Swamiji’s life stories and thoughts were organised in these schools.
Blood Donation Camp
Blood Donation Camp organised on 15th January 2017 saw 127 donors donating blood, the highest number for VSM blood donation camps till date. Blood Donation Camp was organised in association with the Plasma Blood Bank, Dombivli .
On 15th January 2017, 4 mobile tablets were also donated to VSM’s NALANDA project by Mahindra and Mahindra group as a part of their CSR activities through the platform of ‘Save Indian Farmers(SIF)- Project Udaan’. These tablets will help school children from rudimentary, non-urban schools to learn through interactive learning platform thereby improving the quality of education they receive.
The inauguration of the first e-magazine of VSM : Sanvaad also took place on 15th January . The magazine is to serve as a voice of the VSM as well as a platform for the volunteers to read, write, express and grow inside out.
Swamiji called out to nation’s youth with the words: “A few heart-whole energetic young men and women can do more good in a year than a mob in a century.” This vision, for us, is like the North Star in the night sky. It lends us focus, determination and strong will to make today’s youth acquainted with their true potential and orient them towards self-empowerment as well as social and national good. Our efforts in this direction will continue with same zeal and persistence in the future as well.