Friday, 8 December 2017

World Disability Day at Seva Kendra Calcutta

-Stephen Gonsalves

Kolkata: Disability Day, or the International Day of People with Disability, is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. Seva Kendra Calcutta held a confluence of persons with disability from Missionaries of Charity Shanti Dan and other communities with whom Seva Kendra Calcutta is engaged in. The aim of Disability Day, held on December 3 2017 was to encourage a better understanding of people affected by disability, together with helping to make people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people, and how one can contribute to caring for them.

Sr. Karuna M.C. from Shanti Dan shared her experience in caring for people with disabilities as well as raise awareness about the benefits of integrating disabled persons into every aspect of life - spiritual, social and cultural. At the start of the evening’s programme Fr Franklin Menezes, Director of Seva Kendra Calcutta stated that Disability Day is not concerned exclusively with either mental or physical disabilities, but rather encompasses all known disabilities, from Autism to Down syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis all of which requires compassion and healing. Shanti Dan residents  comprising of 45 girls with various disabilities, performed cultural activities spiritual songs, dance and skits, which were ably led by Sister Superior of Shanti Dan.

At the start of the programme Fr Franklin Menezes stated that Seva Kendra Calcutta was launching the constructing a full-fledged residential center for those who are physically challenged. This center would be residential one with all facilities for rehabilitation, education, medical treatment and social  integration. The center, to be located on the outskirts of Kolkata, already has available land which has been donated by another organization called Swanirbhar. At this event “Dus Ka Dum” was launched which is a local fundraising event by all who are interested in this venture. Each coupon is priced at Rs.10 and hence the name. The first brick for the foundation was also presented at this occasion. The same will be blessed by His Grace Archbishop Thomas D’Souza on the day the foundation will be laid.

The Chief Guest for the evening was Rotarian Ms. Lovina Khan, Managing Trustee of Open Arms Education Trust; who stated that she would fully support such a venture by Seva Kendra Calcutta and committed to donate Rs.10,000 from Open Arms Education Trust. Others who donated for the cause were Guests of Honor Mr. Sharik Khanand Mr. Shamir Alam. A large gathering of the staff of Seva Kendra Calcutta and many of the others from the neighborhood communities participated at this event, which was another milestone for Seva Kendra Calcutta.


- Subhodeep Biswas

Dum Dum: On the 2nd of December December, Mother Teresa’s Church, Dum Dum, hosted aninter parish fest named “KAIROS” meaning ‘opportune time’ or ‘time of grace.’

The day began with a prayer by Fr. Devraj Fernandes, the YCS Chaplin of Kolkata Diocese, then followed a time of praise and worship led by a national band “Bridge ‘000.” Fr. Sudhir Nayak, the parish priest of St. Damien’s Church, Dum Dum, gave the key note message and Fr. Joachim Ekka, the Chaplin of JY West Bengal declared the event open. Around 200 youth came for the event and took active participation in one way or the other. All the priests, including Fr. Jesu Rechahar from Christ the King parish, were present during the Eucharistic Celebration with Fr. Devraj Fernandes as the main celebrant. The ICYN West Bengal & Sikkim president, Mr.Alex Hembrom and the Kolkata Diocese president, Mr. Jovita Ekka were also present and showcased active participation.

The day also witnessed the performance of Mr. Nizel Samuel, the lead singer of the gospel band, ‘The Desert Voice’ (he was also one of the judges for the singing competition). After a full-day of intense competition, fellowship and laughter, Infant Jesus Church, Behala emerged as the winners while Our Lady of Happy Voyage, Howrah were the runners up. The perfect icing on the cake was the guest performance by Bridge ‘000. This was the first time in Kolkata where a national band has performed in an inter-parish fest.