Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friends Society - 42 years old !

Dear Friends,
I hope you and your family are doing well. On completion of 42 years, this mail is to keep you updated on the developments and activities that have taken place in Friends Society since the beginning of this year.
Mrs. Manorama Dubey, who has been closely associated with our Sewing & Embroidery Class for the past 27 years, has been appointed to attend to the overall functioning of Friends Society since December 2011. In May this year, Sunil Rana has been recruited as the Office Assistant. Now our Office hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday thru’ Saturday) and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. Mrs. Manorama Dubey / Sunil Rana are available in the office during above hours. Also, our office number has changed to 0265-2750629.
We are proud to inform you that in the year 2012 the FS building will become a heritage building as it completes 100 years of existence.
We have recently completed major renovations in the premises. Major challenge was water proofing as our century-old Library building with jack arch flooring roof at top had weathering effect of years together and was leaking. Leakage was also there at Balwadi building covered with RCC slab and had weathering effect of years together. The key issue was to keep the original specialized work of jack arch flooring intact, particularly brick on edge and carry out water proofing. At this juncture, we did not had to go far looking for suitable technical expert as only a phone call to our very own Ashvin Dhabalia was sufficient.
Apart from above, the building has been painted and the garden spruced up. The Library has been extended to provide additional space for the Sewing & Embroidery Class and a wall has been built in the Balwadi to separate it from the next door hostel. A window has been made at Study Centre to ensure adequate ventilation. Also, Aquaguard and Water Cooler have been installed.
Recently the Library has been cleared off 1600 old, tattered books. It currently boasts of 8000 books in Gujarati, Hindi, and English including books dedicated to children. The Library members have almost doubled to 105 this year.
Since December last year our Income Generation programme has introduced Beautician, Jewellery-making and Mehendi classes optimizing on the availability of the Library space between 12 noon and 2 pm. Around 145 girls have made use of this opportunity of which at least 10 have initiated their own set up. On August 10th & 11th we held a two-day Exhibition-cum-sale promoting the jewellery made by the girls.
Home visits are been mandatorily carried out to follow-up on the well-being of the 2009-10 batch Balwadi children and to ensure that they have been enrolled in schools. Assessment for mentally challenged Sunday school children has been conducted by Psychologist Dr. Ronak Pandit (registered with Rehabilitation Council of India).
All important celebrations including Christmas, Uttarayan, Republic and Independence Day along with regular FS activities such as Blood donation camps, Cheer Up and Annual Picnic for Sunday School have been well conducted. Our blind children participated in the Chess competition as well as in Prerena (Annual event of Techo Faculty, MSU for the differently abled). “XVIIth All Vadodara Special Children Sports Meet - “SHOURYA…A FEAT OF COURAGE” for the differently-abled children, was successfully held in Dec. 2010, which truly covered entire city of Vadodara in terms of nature of disability and geographical reach as participation was by around 400 children from 20 Institutions (in the area of Physically challenged, Mental retardation, Hearing Impaired & Visually impaired).

This time during Independence Day celebration, we were fortunate to have presence of Shri Atul Mehta (our close neighbor as well as a leading Advocate) as Chief Guest. He is also the President of Hindu Mahajan Trust, which owns the land on which our FS stands. He wished that Friends Society volunteers would continue to contribute for the community for many years to come and FS would continue to be a place of pride especially among residents of Fatehgunj as for over 2 generations their tiny tots, adolescent, youth & Sr. Citizens have grown hand-in-hand with FS. He was indeed very happy to see the metamorphosis which the campus has undergone over the last 4 decades, especially after the recent renovations which will ensure long term structural stability of the building as well as user friendly initiatives related to health and hygiene. In the enclosed photos of Independence Day you will find Atulbhai as well as see a glimpse of performance by our children.

Friends on this Independence Day, our darling FS has turned 42. It is heartening to note that FS is forging ahead against many odds. We have all the reasons to feel happy that a student voluntary organization for community service is still going on. This has become possible due to the strong foundation laid by you all and your constant support from far flung places. Last year was significant in the context that many of the things could be achieved due to generous contributions made by you all in the last year. At that time many friends had suggested that we remind them for contribution again around birthday of FS. Therefore, we take this opportunity to appeal to you for making your contribution to FS once again. We shall be happy if you could inspire other past members and other well wishers to contribute their mite, looking to the fact that rising cost of services and materials have raised our annual expenditure to about Rs. 8 to 10 lakhs. We are confident that you will rise to the occasion once again and be with our dear FS.
We shall certainly appreciate your suggestions for betterment of FS.
Let us all remember the FS song….Chalte, chalte mere yeh geet yaad rakhna. kabhi alvida na kehana. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana. ….

With best wishes and warm regards
Sagun Gowri Anuj

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