Celebrating the spirit of giving - a report in The Hindu

Would you be interested to play traditional games such as ‘dayakattai' and ‘pallankuzhi', or would you just sit back to enjoy a wide range of cultural performances? You could learn to operate the charkha, or perhaps get familiar with the government's e-governance initiatives, or simply relish a plate of hot savouries. From people who wish to pledge organs, to artists wanting to impart training to people in puppetry and weaving handcrafts, ‘Seva Mela'– a two-day fair inaugurated on Sunday as part of the ‘Joy of Giving Week' makes the act of giving simpler than ever before.

Presented by the Confederation of Indian Organisations for Service and Advocacy (CIOSA) in association with the Centre for Social Initiative and Management, the ‘Seva Mela' at Valluvar Kottam has around 80 stalls of various local NGOs and self-help groups. “Many activities are aimed to sensitise people to the needs of the disabled, including playing chess with visually challenged persons,” says Prasanna of CIOSA.

Besides a food festival and an exhibition of various services offered by different NGOs, there is a stall where visitors can donate things, including books, clothes and daily use commodities. Stalls providing pets for adoption and counselling services for consumer protection and conducting awareness camps on health, eco-tourism, vocational training and palliative care are some of the attractions for the visitors.

Fun fair

As part of the ‘Joy of Giving Week,' a two-day fun fair for special children, being organised by the Down's Syndrome Association of Tamil Nadu, got under way at Nehru Stadium here.

For the 2,500 special children who participated in the fair on Sunday, it was time for a medley of music, dance, sports, food and more entertainment. Children from 28 schools in the city and from 18 districts of the State are participating in the fair.

From football matches to aerobics sessions and musical orchestras, the programme promises to be a total entertainment treat for the youngsters. Around 200 trained caretakers would supervise the activities of the children. “It is the best way to bring a smile on the faces of these children when you let them do anything they want, with a lot of music and entertainment,” said M.V. Patricia, an occupational therapist.