Daan Utsav or Festival of Giving is India’s weeklong celebration observed every year during the week including Gandhi Jayanthi (October 2–8) to promote ‘giving’ among people. Launched in 2009, the festival encompasses people from all walks of life — from school children to home makers, automobile drivers to corporate honchos and celebrities, who indulge in various forms of giving not just limiting to monetary contributions but also include contributing their time, resources and skills — anything to bring joy into the lives of the underprivileged. It could be as simple as treating the housemaid and her children to lip-smacking ice creams or as large as donating huge amount of cash or gifting books and stationery items to school children hailing from poor families. Rotary clubs across our country also celebrate this festival with great gusto and various activities are undertaken by Rotarians to give a fillip to the art of giving.
Rotary Coimbatore Central organised a unique event ‘Aram Seyya Virumbu’ as part of the Joy of Giving week. The event brought 30 service organisations from Coimbatore, Chennai and Ayakudi under one roof working in diverse fields. Stalls were put up at the venue to create awareness about their services, enroll volunteers and raise contributions. Public were invited to contribute to any organisations of their choice in cash or kind or as time by volunteering their services.
The event was inaugurated by Mr. N. Vaghul, former Chairman, ICICI Bank at Ramakrishna Kalyana Mandapam, Coimbatore on October 4, 2014. RI Director P.T. Prabhakar, the chief guest spoke on the importance of giving. He elaborated on four aspects to giving: Why, When, To whom and How much to give — quoting examples from the ancient epics to substantiate his ideas. He commended the idea of the event and hoped it could be replicated in other places as well.
Rtn A.R. Arunachalam, President of RC Coimbatore Central, detailed the various projects to be launched during the festival. These included an effort to enroll 1,000 new blood donors and organ donors, in association with Karunya Blood Donors Society; sanction letters to provide two dialysis machines to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital; inauguration of a project to construct 100 toilets at Devarayapuram block. The club adopted five schools of Friends of Tribals for a one year period and also undertook to sponsor 40 differently-abled students at Amar Seva Sangam, Ayakudi at a cost of Rs 1.4 lakhs.
While the government has given free laptops to students in government institutions and aided colleges, Eduseva, a technology startup, along with the Rotary Village Knowledge Centre (a joint initiative of RC Coimbatore Central, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and Tulsi Trust) inaugurated a series of classes to help rural students reap the benefits of technology through these laptops. Several students from Devarayapuram village attended the session.
Reputed speakers inspired the audience to open their hearts and purses to transform the lives of the down-trodden. Cookery and fancy dress contests saw enthusiastic participation from children. The food festival was a successful fund-raiser as it drew a large crowd providing a variety of gastronomic delight for the public. Over 8,000 guests visited the joy of giving celebrations.
With inputs from RI District 3201