MUMBAI, MARCH 15, 2010: It was an afternoon packed with great energy and good cheer as Women’s Day was celebrated in Dharavi on Saturday, March 13, 2010. This event, organized by Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), witnessed the turnout of over 1200 women from different slum communities in Mumbai. Besides the women from the Self Help Groups promoted by DBDS in Dharavi, there were women from Matunga, Mahim, Wadala, Sewri, Kurla, Santacruz, Andheri and Jogeswhari.
The programme got underway with a prayer song and dance, after which the lamp was lit by the dignitaries on the stage. These guests of honour included Ms. Jamila Begum from Yuva; Ms. Varsha Parchure from Apnalaya; Mr. Robin Thomas from Tata Trent; Mr. Savrimuthu, General Manager of Indian Bank; Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House; and Fr. Elson Barretto, Director of DBDS. Other senior officials from the Mumbai Municipal Corporation were also present on the dais.
The afternoon saw a good mix of speeches by the dignitaries and cultural items by the women. While Ms. Jamila Begum and Ms. Varsha Parchure spoke on the theme of water, Mr. Robin Thomas focused on the issue of plastic bags and the environmental problems they caused. Mr. Savrimuthu enlightened the audience on the micro-credit schemes being promoted by the Indian Bank and also distributed loan cheques to 18 different SHGs amounting to a total of Rupees Forty Five lacs, to be used for launching small business enterprises. Fr. Elson Barretto described the various initiatives undertaken by DBDS in the city, especially the women’s development programmes. The highlight of the evening was a Fashion Show Contest in which 25 women participated. These contestants, decked up as ‘new brides’, walked the ramp to the enthusiastic applause of the audience. The programme concluded with the distribution of certificates to 175 women who had successfully completed a variety of skills training courses organized by DBDS in different slum areas in the city during the past few months.