On Sunday, January 5th, 2014 Shaishav held Balsena’s 11th Annual Program. Balsena children (Shaishav’s children’s collective) and the Shaishav team woke up bright and early for a child right’s rally. Marching down Wagawadi Road in Bhavnagar, 728 children and 173 youth and adults, making 901 participants total, chanted child rights and Balsena slogans up and into Samaldas Arts College, where they broke into song and dance until the program began.
The Balsena program began with the Balsena President, Kushbu, addressing the children about her experience as the Balsena President, and a happy rendition of the Balsena song. After distribution of morning snacks, children broke into smaller groups and had sessions with a Bal Dost, or an adult role model for children, who ranged from local NGO leaders to educators to scientists. They were able to ask them questions about their career, their lives, being a role model, anything.
Subsequently children were split into two groups by age. The smaller children went and watched a movie, Delhi Safari, while the older children cooked for all people present at the event. Using massive pots and burners while overseen by Shaishav team members, children created delicious lunch for all of the participants and speakers. Simultaneously, Bal Dosts and other prominent community leaders met with our honored guest, Ranchodbhai Shah, the Founder and managing trustee of Amity International about the present state of education in India.
After lunch, several boy and girl scouts from around Bhavnagar came and did a variety of activities with the Balsena teams. They broke out into small groups and learned first aid, learned simple instruments and learned the similarities and differences between Balsena members and scouts. Then the entire group came together and listened to our guests. One was a young man from the UK named Liam, who spent the year fundraising for Shaishav and presented the Balsena team with 500 pounds! Another was Mr. Ranchodbhai Shah, who gave the closing speech.
At 5 p.m. the Balsena children piled on the buses to go home, donated with the kind support of several private schools in the area. The Balsena Annual Program was a huge success, and Shaishav is excited to hold one again next year!