An array of bright and colourful sarees filled the hall for the annual celebration,staff members from all three project areas came celebrate Deep Griha's31st anniversary. A warm welcome from the Associate Director Kieran Patole openedthe occasion followed by hymns sung in both Marathi and English. Guests and volunteerswere welcomed and thanked for their help within the organisation by the Rev Bhasker Onawale.
The day proceeded with performances from our newly arrived French volunteer, Coco, who amazed the audience with his outstanding performance on the Didgeridoo. The stafffrom Ramtekedi followed with both exceptional performances in both song and dance.
Lunch followed the mornings performances, a prayer by the Rev Onawale was said before all indulged in the delicious range offood provided.
The afternoon performances began with a dance from a group of nine female volunteers from UK and Kenya. They delighted theaudience with an outstanding performance to the Hindi song 'kajra re' the audience's appreciation was so overwhelming thatthey performed the dance for a second time at the end of the day.
Performances followed from the staff of Bibewadi, who entertained us with comedy sketch on the staff members. Tadiwala road staff sang a variety of songs and a very special performance came from the Link volunteer David Lyon who dedicated the song 'Final Countdown' to his fellow Link Volunteers.
The DISHA team took the stage with four of the team members dancing to 'Desi Ranglia' while the rest of the team came on stage for the finale with the first appearance of the team logo Major Tom. The team then performed a team song.
The day was concluded with the volunteers coming together to perform a very moving rendition of 'Let it Be'. The Indian National Anthem was sung and a very successful and enjoyable day came to a conclusion.
A cool & chilled Sunday Morning, the hall at large was 1st asked to fill in pre-program Questionnaires.In order to generate "Planning Skills", warm up the atmosphere & create an icebreaking session, they were divided into 5 groups of 5 each. Each group was given a different theme(Cancer, War, Rum, Pencil & Python)to come up with an advertisement, hence giving them a chance to plan how & what there product will be & how they will make it a selling one. The talented minds came up with brilliant ideas & did remarkable & convincing mini-dramas.After all the thinking & planning a lunch break at this point was necessary.
After a finger licking lunch break of 45min. Hans Billimoria, in an interactive manner began a comprehensive & illustrative PowerPoint presentation explaining & describing HIV/AIDS, its origin, stages, transmission &effects, followed by a PowerPoint presentation on Counseling & Guidance, how to counsel, various correct sitting posture & examples of what to expect (David & Aislinn did a brilliant skit putting all the words in the presentation into action).
The DISHA team than did the "JAMBURE" street play in marathi, the audience at this point were very attentive, laughed & enjoyed the creativeness of the awesome team. That was the DISHA streets play, but it was time to get the audience to set up their on street play & hence Mahrukh N. Bharucha from Expressions Unlimited took the honor in sharing her talents. She gave a smooth & clear description on street plays. She explained how to seek attention, how long it should be, what to expect from the crowd & what the crowd expects from us!It was than time to see if all that she was saying could be put into action. They were divided into 3 groups. With a preparation time of 15 minutes various groups presented & their merits & demerits were pointed out!
Hans gave the closing remarks & thanked everyone for being so attentive & energetic.And on behalf of St. Paul's church Percy gave a vote of thank to Hans Billimoria, Mahrukh N. Bharucha & the entire team of Deep Griha Society.It was an educative afternoon filled with fun, fun & fun!
On with the dance...
June 7, 2006 - Standard 8 Class - 350 Students
June 9, 2006 - Standard 9 & 10 Classes - 600 Students
June 13, 2006 - Junior Colleges 11 & 12 - 117 Students
The Deep Griha DISHA team together with the team from Sahara Care Home made three presentations to Bishop's School over the last week. Presentations were made to three different groups - standard 8, 9 & 10, and junior colleges of 11 & 12. The presentations were tailored to each respective age group, ensuring active participation and thorough comprehension.
The presentation began with an introduction of Deep Griha, DISHA, Sahara and the people involved with the extensive project. It then delved into the issue at hand. In an interactive manner, Hans Billimoria, accompanied by a comprehensive and illustrative powerpoint, explained and described HIV/AIDS, its origins, stages, transmission, and effects. Hans first selected random students from the audience to represent the white blood cells of the immune system, the HIV virus, as well as the diseases of diarrhea, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. He then chose students to represent nutrition and vitamins and showed how these could protect against the intruding diseases which easily attacked the immune system 'touched' by the HIV virus. Not only did this presentation clearly demonstrate an abstract biomedical concept, but also did so in an educational way that would stay in the minds of the students for years to come.
The section on how one contracts HIV was crucial. Of the students who volunteered answers for how HIV is spread, some stated facts such as infection through unprotected sex, contaminated needles, and infected mothers nursing their children. Yet, others believed infection myths such as "violent smooching," "unethical sexual practices," and "homosexuality." First of all, these responses highlight the need for education on how HIV is actually contracted. Secondly, they manifest how moralized HIV/AIDS is: if sex is considered unethical, anyone who contracts HIV may also be considered an unethical person-thereby explaining why a stigma began and why it maintains a stronghold on society. Thirdly, the belief that homosexuality infects one with HIV manifests the flawed myths students are told by their parents, religious institutions, and larger societies as a whole. Moreover, these were only the answers provided by about ten of the students. Who knows what the students who did not volunteer answers were thinking about how HIV is contracted? Specifically, the explanations on needing 6 buckets of saliva to possibly contract HIV and whether infection can occur from dried blood on a barber's razor proved needed as there was much confusion on these real life examples. Thus, much education is needed to supplant the myths surrounding the epidemic and to stop the stigma.
Overall, the presentations were interactive, engaging and thought provoking. The DISHA presentation effectively fostered a community in which HIV/AIDS is combated by filling in crucial gaps in the adolescents' knowledge of the epidemic and which will ultimately join in the fight against HIV/AIDS in India.
On the 31 March a Scottish day was held at Tadiwala Road. It was a day designed to give a little insight into the traditions, pride and fun that engulfs the great country of Scotland.
The day included many different events but one of the big events was the Caily. Some of the most popular of the Scottish Country Dances were demonstrated to the awe struck children. This included a fantastic demonstration of "The Dashing White Sergeant" at the very start of the day. The children even gave their own attempts at some of the dances. "Strip The Willow" was taught with limited success and a lot of laughs, while "The Gay Gordons" was quickly abandoned and instead people just kept spinning round in circles to the catchy music that filled the air with a buzz of excitement.
Now Scotland holds a friendly monster called "Nessie, The Loch Ness Monster". 'Nessie in a Nutshell' gave the dramatic history of the great beast from her encounter with missionaries and monks right down to modern day hunts for Nessie. Then the children followed their new found knowledge up with a game called "Pin The Tail On The Nessie". A beautifully painted poster of Scotland's long, green resident with its tail missing had been carefully made the previous day. The children were then given the tail, blindfolded, spun around 5 times, and then tried to attach the tail to Nessie. It was harder than it sounds and her tail ended up all over the place. Despite the dizziness and level of difficulty, the children lined up to try and give Nessie her tail back.
Nicola Yule demonstrated "The Highland Fling" to us with impressive results. As the rest of us hummed the tune (as we were unable to get it on CD) and the children clapped their hands, she bravely danced a solo of the dance to the cheering crowd. It was an impressive dance done expertly and was a joy to watch.
Then it was time for food. The previous day the kitchen had been invaded by volunteers and there were chocolate goodies to be had. First up there were chocolate crispies with Mars Bars in them. They were good! Then chocolate truffles, which went down a real treat with everyone. There was nothing left except the washing up at the end of the day. The fudge that had also been made for the day refused to set, even though it was left in the fridge overnight. It didn't set for days afterwards ether!
Last thing on the list was a singing of "Flower Of Scotland", Scotland's National Anthem. It was played on the chanter and the first verse was sung to the children. The words themselves probably weren't understood but we felt it important that they heard some of the great Anthem.
The day was finished off with some group photos of volunteers and children together with Nessie smiling from a poster in the background.
The events were repeated, once in the morning and again in the afternoon, and both went well. Lunch was a more Scottish type meal than Indian, though rice was still there there were vegetables through it although there were no chapattis or dale in sight.
In conclusion Scottish Day went well. Flags, posters and tartan hats were floating about and everyone had a great time. Most of the staff at Deep Griha put their heads round the door to have a look at what was going on and have a little dance themselves. The day was a fantastic success! Such a success in fact that we decided to do it again, and 2 more Scottish days are happening, one at Ramtekadi and the other at Epiphany school. Should be good.
Well done to everyone who helped to make Tadiwala Road's Scottish Day the brilliant event that it was. It really couldn't have happened without you.
On the 18th of March, Hans gave a 'Be HIV Positive' presentation at the School of Health Sciences, University of Pune. Zinabu, a Masters student from the Dept. of Dietics, had evaluated the DISHA nutrition programme and his colleague, Rubina, provided us with a new menu, which has already been implemented. The report underlined the importance of nutrition and SAM therapy in helping boost the immunity of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Hans and Zinabu were able to build on this during the presentation. Good nutrition and SAM therapy, if taken right, has the potential to delay the need for anti-retroviral therapy (ART/ARV). More significantly, the students and staff of the School of Health Sciences, were the first people at the end of a DISHA 'Be HIV Positive' session to chorus that they are now "HIV Positive!"
PUMBA seminar 'HIV/AIDS and Youth
On 1-2 March the DISHA team visited the University of Pune for some further awareness events.Invited by the Pune University's business department (PUMBA), on the first day the team ran a street play for children at the onsite school before moving on to the campus refectory for further plays, demonstrations and the distribution of AIDS ribbons.
On day two, Project Manager Hans Billimoria delivered a seminar to staff and students on the theme 'HIV/AIDS and Youth'. An initial presentation was followed by an address from Anita, an HIV+ guest speaker, and the event concluded with a question and answer session which gave up some interesting issues for discussion.Avinash addresses the schoolchildrenDr (Capt) C M Chitale, Head of Department, welcomed the seminar and requested that more be held in the months to come.The on-campus radio station Vidyavani then requested Hans to come and record a brief talk about HIV/AIDS in relation to students. It is anticipated that the recording will be broadcast by the station and possibly placed online for wider access.
Unventured, an adventure company from Bangalore is supporting "The Laddoo Project" ( an Urban Nutrition initiative by Design Impact being run at the DGS creches). This is a unique collaboration, wherein 11 cyclists who are riding from Manali to Leh will raise money and awareness for the Laddoo Project, such that our little toddlers keep getting their yummy source of healthy laddoos. Read more > http://unventured.com/laddoo/