Daan Utsav: Bakul Volunteers Spread Joy Among Children & Elders In Bhubaneswar

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The threat of cyclonic weather and heavy rains did not dampen spirits as Bakul Foundation celebrated Daan Utsav, or the Joy of Giving Week, with slum children.

Daan Utsav, the biggest volunteering event in Odisha in the last decade, had been put on hold for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The giving festival was back with a bang on the first day of service, with 300 volunteers going out in 20 groups to spread joy through fun and learning activities among children in 50 slums and 2 orphanages, and among the elderly at one old-age home in Bhubaneswar.

The regular Bakul volunteers, who have continued their volunteering journey over the years, coordinated the activities.

“This year, I am coordinating the entire effort. I have never led such a big group ever before, and this has been a great learning experience and the fact that I am responsible in some way to the 1000 to 1200 children we would be giving joy today is an incredible experience,” said Shruti Kanungo, a Bakul volunteer and Bachelor’s student of Ravenshaw University who had been initiated into volunteering as a school student on the Day of Service in 2018.

The volunteers are mostly from colleges and schools, and some young professionals who joined along with their friends to soak in the experience. They had the option to choose from different zones in Bhubaneswar and different time slots.

Activities included ice-breaking games, art and craft, and games around story creation.

The focus this year in Bhubaneswar has been on slums near each of the Bakul Libraries in Satyanagar, Forest Park and Kalabhoomi in Pokhariput.

Children from Durga Mandap Basti, Timber Colony, Rajkumar Basti, Triranga Basti were clubbed together for activities at Bakul Library, while children of Gandamunda Tarini Basti, Gandamunda and Bhakta Madhu Nagar were grouped together at the Bakul Library in Kalabhoomi in Pokhariput.

Each library has activities both in the morning and afternoon involving children from different slums.

To ensure that the service does not end with joy on Day 1, the volunteers try to create interest among children to keep coming to the free Bakul Libraries and learn from the wonderfully curated books, as well as activities around books and creativity.

There are other activities in community centres at several other nearby slums. The activities in the slums were facilitated by Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited and Humara Bachpan Trust.

OB Bureau

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