Bal Mela 2012,an initiative by the officers of the Ammunition Factory,Khadki,was a day of fun and games for 574 differently-abled children from 17 schools
The party hall at the Ordnance Factory Club,Khadki,bustled with cheer teams,applause and foot tapping numbers. Life-sized fairies and balloons adorned the hall. It was a day out for 574 differently-abled children from 17 schools. They were brought together to enjoy a sumptuous lunch and to participate in various competitions. The children represented their schools at the Bal Mela 2012,organised by Mamta Sahyog Seva Sanstha,a 20-year-old charitable trust of the employees of the Ammunition Factory,Khadki.
The sanstha was the initiative of D I Srivastava,the additional general manager in 1992. It began as a voluntary contributing space for the officers of the Ammunition Factory who donated for the betterment of the society. Later,a contribution of Rs 10 from the monthly salaries of all employees was made compulsory, said S Bhopale,Deputy Labour Welfare Commissioner with the Government of India and advisor to the sanstha.
With over 6500 people under the organisation,the sanstha managed to collect Rs 60,000 every year. We have been providing grocery and other requirements to 17 schools for the past 10 years with the collection, added Bhopale. Bal Mela,in its tenth year now,became an extension to the sanstha,a platform for the students to showcase their talents and an initiative to reach out to them, said B N Singh,a member of the sanstha and senior general manager at the Ammunition Factory.
The day began with breakfast which was sponsored by one of the officials. A makeshift amusement park was arranged for the children. It had Jumping Jacks,merry-go-rounds,slides and other games. The fun and frolic was followed by a cultural programme and a prize distribution ceremony. Jagrut Apang Sangathana,Maan,won the first prize for staging a lavani performance. C R Ranganathan School,Vishrantwadi,bagged the second prize for its gymnastic feats while Mahavir Mukh Badhir Vidyaylaya,Urali Kanchan,won the third prize for enthralling the audience with a Bollywood number.
Before every Bal Mela,we hold meetings with the school authorities about the requirements of the children, informed Singh. According to the needs of each school,the sanstha distribute cupboards,printers,microwaves,fans,amplifiers and bins. If the requirements exceed our budget,then the schools contribute to purchase them, said Bhopale.
Members of the sanstha are also contemplating the distribution of several computers and electronic appliances to the school. A huge amount of e-waste is generated by the government offices every year. We would like to donate this to the schools that are in need of these devices, he said.