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'Bal Mela 2014,' a Celebration with Orphan and Slum Children


By Joaquim Lobo
A poster of `Bal Mela 2014,` calling us to be part of the celebration
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Panjim, Dec. 12. 'Bal Mela' is a mega event for the children of the slums and orphanages. The Province of Panjim, from the year of its elevation, has been committed to celebrate with them on 19 December every year from 2007. This year 'Bal Mela' will go into its 8th edition in which more than 1,250 children are expected to participate.
A month before the event has always been one of intense preparations - weekly meetings of the core group, keeping up dead lines, numerous trips and phone calls. Five committees have been formed - Food committee, Transport committee, Prizes, Gifts and Stalls committee, Publicity committee and Finance committee.  

On 19 December, fifteen buses will ferry the children from adjoining towns of Goa, viz., Savordem, Margao, Vasco, Bicholim, Ponda, Chimbel, Siolim, Thivim and Ucassaim-Paliem. 30 stalls will be installed with variety of games to entertain the children. Besides, there will be creative stalls like face painting and tattooing. Doctors will be available to examine and distribute medicine. Magic shows, dances by professional troops will be added attraction. Children themselves will get chance to come on the stage and perform cultural items.

Groups of children will be accompanied by their guardians who will be with them from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. It's a day of meeting and making friends, enjoying and learning, performing and getting applauded, watching and participating, whispering and shouting, winning and sharing. It is a day when children will learn to be and esteem themselves and feel good about their childhood.

''Suno Hamari Pukar'' (Listen to Our Calling) is the theme for 'Bal Mela 2014'. A child will call when it wants you to be around - to play, talk, dance, sing, walk, run... when it is in danger, when it wants an answer, when it sees no one.  More than 150 volunteers have heard the children's call and will go through three days of immediate preparation to make this gathering an enjoyable and memorable one for them.

''As the Salesians celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Don Bosco this year, every care will be taken to see that we do our best to make children feel they are loved, just as Don Bosco loved them,'' said Fr Kimrold D'Mello, sdb, in-charge of 'Bal Mela' and the Youth at Risk commission of the province.

If you wish to be part of this worthy cause, contact Fr. D'Mello at balmelayar@gmail.com, or on cellphone 09011086268.
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