The Sunday sun rose casting tiny shadows of little people clad in their sports gear and red caps; the glow on their face putting the sun to shame and the clatter silencing the morning lark’s pride.
DaanUtsav is a festival celebrated all across the nation from 2nd to 8th October to spread the message about the joy of giving. Various governmental and non-governmental organizations take part in this festival and come up with social projects that create awareness among people from various sections of the society regarding the importance of social responsibility.
Manipal Academy of Higher Education has been actively celebrating DaanUtsav which is in its tenth year through the support of the Volunteer Services Organization. However this year, it has been decided that each constituent college will conduct their own individual projects and VSO will only provide background support.
Kidathon is a walkathon for kids below the age of 10 that has been part of DaanUtsav as a promotional event for quite some time and this year’s Kidathon was organized by Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. The event saw the participation of a huge number of children from various schools in and around Manipal. It was headed by Dr. Prithvi, associate professor at the department of Emergency Medicine, Kasturba Hospital and Ms. Tillottama, a student from WGSHA with the support of Dr. Anup Naha Associate professor at of MCOPS and Ms. Tarangini Saran, President of VSO and a student at MCODS. Mr. Navneeth Ganesh Upadhyaya, Student advisor of VSO had a major role in the organization, planning and execution of the event.
The event was also organized as an awareness campaign for cardiac diseases in the light of World heart day. The crowd was educated about the mass CPR workshop that was to follow on the 2nd of October at Ajjarkad grounds. It began around 7:30am in the morning at the District Commissioner’s office and ended at KMC Greens. The children walked along enthusiastic volunteers clad in florescent green and bright red caps. The volunteers did do a herculean task, managing the kids and their parents and getting the crowd on foot.
At KMC Greens, a Zumba session was organized for the kids where Ms. Anushka Nair, a student at KMC Manipal, taught the children Zumba and gave pumped their bodies and minds with some more energy grooving to the beats of popular music. The children were then taught the seven steps of hand-washing using hand sanitizers and then served with a delicious breakfast.
As part of Daan Utsav, all the kids who participated were given small bags to collect a fist full of rice on each day of DaanUtsav just before having a meal. The collected rice from this drive would then be donated to charity. Lastly, the kids were given red heart-shaped balloons as they bid farewell.
The walkathon included children from various grades, boards and from different economic sections of the society. But, when they walked towards their destination in unison, none of the points of stratification mattered or reflected in their actions. The event was thus, a personification of the Utopian ideology wherein if all members of the community had impartial and pure minds like children, then unity and universal brotherhood just become obvious characteristics which the society can rely upon.