Date: 13th, Feb. 2008
A Shram Sanskrit Chhavani was held here in Snehalaya between 9th, to 11th Feb. 2008. 350 youths from Ahmednagar and neighboring districts have attended the Chhavani. Dr. S. N. Subbarao, freedom fighter and President of National Youth Project inaugurated the Chhavani by hoisting a flag and by giving a pledge of Chhavani to youths. The youths have interacted with many practicing social workers at grass roots, half of the day. They have also physically worked together for digging the foundation of the new proposed auditorium and cleaning of Snehalaya’s premises and serving the sick inmates. Mr. Shirish Dharmadhikari, Mr. Arun Aher, Mr. Sharad Deshmukh, Mr. Bhushan Deshmukh etc. have a meaningful dialogue with the youths. Everyone was given responsibility to prepare and present his plan of practicing social commitment at his surrounding areas. The interested youths will be given special guidance to start the grass root work of their own choice. Mr. Hanif Shaikh, Co-ordinator of Balbhavn project presented the work of changing destinies of slum children. Hanif appealed to start the Balbhavans at nearest locations of the interested youth volunteers.
Snehalaya wanted to draw attention of the youths towards the present social conflict on the basis of language and regionalism in Ahmednagar MIDC area and surrounding villages. Since one and half month when this conflict was noticed by Snehalaya, we have started intervention to restore the peace and harmony in the area. Snehalaya is the prominent non governmental organization in Maharashtra and we have our shelter home in the heart of the MIDC area of Ahmednagar. Hence we have taken initiative to normalize the situation. The conflict has created adverse impact on productivity of the many local industries as hundreds of non-Marathi workers left the city due to violence and threats. Snehalaya with the help of youth volunteers faced the threat of violent mobs supported by criminal gangs who also have the hidden political support.
Snehalaya has formed an action committee of all the NGOs, brought veteran social worker Anna Hajare in picture to influence the supporting local society, started the helpline for the threatened out state workers and mission to talk directly to local youths.
On this situation, we have organized a ‘Shanti Yatra’, Sarvadharm Prarthana and huge public meeting expressing commitment to peace and non violence in tense area of Nimbalak village on 9th and 10th Feb. 2008. It was a unique experience to all the youths who have attended the Chhavani, Chhavani was ended with a pledge to spare at least two hrs, a day and whole Sundays for grass root work of change.
The Stiching Geron, the Netherlands based trust has extended their financial support for the youth camp.