Did you know “Children’s Day” is an official thing? According to Wikipedia Children’s Day was “established in 1954 to protect children working long hours in dangerous circumstances and allow all children access to an education and is normally celebrated with a night off educational duties.” (Nothing celebrates the importance of education like taking a break from homework.) Even the UN General Assembly suggests all countries observe a Universal Children’s Day.
Wikipedia describes India’s Children’s Day this way:
In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on 14 November, the birthday of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru, who was fondly called Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru) by the kids, emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, whom he saw as the bright future of India. Children’s Day is a public holiday.
Many functions are organized in schools, offices and other organizations. Most schools hold cultural performances on this day, run by the children themselves. Teachers also get involved, and may perform songs and dances for their students. The State and the Central governments also make it a point to showcase Children’s films as part of Film festivals organized in many parts of the country on this date. All over the country, various cultural, social, institutions conduct competitions for children. Children’s Day is seen as a day for the kids to engage in fun.
That pretty much sums up what we did to celebrate Children’s Day at the Pearly Gates Center and our new second center, PCDC (the new center was inaugurated in July): we organized a function and the children performed songs, dances and skits.
Here’s one of the dances performed at PCDC:
We also took this opportunity to celebrate all the winners from the various “Games Days” since July. Prizes were awarded to individuals and teams for activities like jumping rope, musical chairs, Kho Kho, Kabbadi, cricket, drawing, and story-telling. Just about every student wins at least one prize, as we often award first, second and third place finishes. Some kids score big with three or four prizes.
It is important to note that the cost of the prizes is not accounted for in the main budget for the after-school programs. Dr. Rao estimated about $150.00 would cover the cost of this year’s prizes. I’m pleased to say that Upper Seneca Baptist Church (where my dad is pastor) in Germantown, Maryland, gave the money to cover this year’s prizes.
Upper Seneca BC has been quite supportive of me ever since I arrived in India — through prayers and kind words and general inquiry. I think it pleases my parents to be able to share what I’m doing here with their church family so I was glad to have the opportunity to preach there while I was home in September. I was able to talk at length about the work we’re doing through the child development centers and answer the congregation’s questions about what life is like in India. Coincidentally (providentially?), a man in that congregation is from Hyderabad – he affirmed my description of life here and echoed my love for dosa and spicy curries. :)
Anyway, the point is it costs money to run these programs at a basic level and additional money to cover the “extras” that can add joy and excitement in these kids’ lives. If you are interested in contributing to this work contact me directly and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Check out these photos from the most recent Children’s Day programs at our two centers.
The first 12 photos are from Pindralavari Center (PCDC). The rest are from the Pearly Gates Center in Ramavarappadu. You can click on any photo to view the slide show and read the full caption.
I hope you enjoyed the photos, and the new layout.