The Women’s Day celebration organized at the Province level was held on 6th May 2019 at Laura Vicuna Nivas, Ahmednagar. The total number of women participated in the celebration were five hundred and fifty who came from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, and Karnataka. This celebration was organized by Sahayani Social Development Society, headed by Sr.Moksha Anthonappa and her team of enthusiastic collaborators.
5th May – Day 1
There was a lot of joy and enthusiasm on the faces of women as they arrived in the evening from different states in spite of the fatigue of the long hours of the journey made.
6th May – Day 2
The grand celebration began on 6th May at 9.40 am in the presence of our visiting general councillor, Sr.Phyllis Neves the chief guest of the day, and other distinguishing guests Mr. Sangram Japtap MLA of Ahmednagar, Mr.Sampat Baraskar – Co-operator, Baba Sahib Wakale, Mayor of the place and Mrs. Shobha Borkor co-operator, who were escorted to the stage by the nursing students of Laura Vicuna Nivas performing the Lezeim dance.
The programme began with a meaningful prayer moment animated by Sr.Collette Gonsalves which culminated with an inter-religious prayer dance performed by the junior college students of Auxilium convent. This was then followed by the lighting of the lamp by all the dignitaries so as to inaugurate the function of the day. Mrs.Vishaka Philip and Mrs. Snehal Kahant – Auxilium teacher compered the entire programme. Sr.Phyllis Neves was welcomed by the women of different states with the tradition and culture of their respective places. The colourful welcome made the ambient joyful and awesome as all the dignitaries were honored with flowers, coconut, and shawl according to the tradition of Maharastra.
The programme began with lots of cheer and enthusiasm. Women from different states performed dances, skits, and songs to mark the day of the Women’s Day celebration. Mrs. Mandakini Lokhande one of the girls who grew up in our street homes shared her soul touching testimony, on the journey of difference made in her own life and in the society by constantly empowering herself in spite of the hardships and domestic violence that she suffered in her life. Today she is strong, empowered, and an entrepreneur woman who is running her own company and helps the unemployed to get the employment. Mr.Suresh Pathare Director of CSRD (College of Social work and Research Development ) addressed the women encouraging them to make use of the various schemes and benefits that they receive through Micro-credit. Sr.Phyllis Neves was invited to address the women. She appreciated the women for their courage, enthusiasm and hard work and encouraged them to make a difference in their own lives and in the society. She encouraged them to continue to be the builders of love, unity, and peace in their own family and society. She spelled out the word “WOMAN”. Each state presented their group products as a token of gift to Sr.Phyllis Neves. The individual women and Microcredit groups from various centers were honored with the appreciation of certificates and gifts. Likewise, Sr.Magdeline Sequeira vice Provincial and founder of Sahayani, Sr.Catherine Pereira and Sr.Anita Gracias were honoured with certificate and gift for their dedicated services in the social field.
After a short refreshing break, a session on human trafficking was conducted by Mrs.Divyani Tumaa. She made them aware of the danger of Human Trafficking which is the problem of the hour the world faces all over. She spoke on the preventive and safety measures against trafficking.
After the lunch break at 2.30 pm, various telegames were organized with the help of volunteers of Don Bosco youth group and Jahaniv foundation. The games were forming the longest line, Hula Hoop, passing the ball and the winners were awarded exciting prizes. The long-awaited cultural programme began at 5.30pm through which the theme “I am the sculpture of my own life” was well highlighted through skits and dances by the women from Bableshwar and Dakor. Sr.Magdeline then addressed the women, she appreciated them for their presence and active participation in the events.
After the culture programme each group was invited on the stage and gifted with a bag filled with Paustik Ahar, Sanitary napkins and microwave bowl. Group photos and group dance was the culmination of the day.
7th May – Day 3
The Morning Prayer was conducted by the Pastor and his team. They were honoured and thanked with shawl and coconut. After breakfast, the women were taken to Shirdi and women from Gujarat headed towards Aurangabad. The others went to Shirdi and Haregaon. At Haregaon Fr.Pius Gonsalves extended hospitality by offering tea and biscuits.
The Salesian co-operators from Ahmednagar volunteered to accompany the women for the picnic. Some women dispersed after the picnic and some women left the following day to their destinations.
We thank God for His powerful and protective presence during these days of celebration. All this was possible because of the hard work and tireless efforts of Sr. Teresa Plathara and her community at Ahmednagar who hosted this mega event. Hats off to you dear Sisters for your collaboration and financial assistance from parents, teachers and local leaders.