BAPS and BAPS Care through their dedicated young volunteers in South Africa recently hosted the third annual Children’s Fun Day (CFD) 2006. The event was was held in Lenasia, a suburb of Johannesburg. BAPS volunteers transformed a field adjacent to the BAPS Lenasia Mandir into a children’s wonderland with various games, activities and food. Over 1000 children from 18 orphanges and destitute homes came for this day of fun on 25 November 2006. Most of these children live lives ravaged by AIDS, crushing poverty, or abuse, and the day’s event offered these children a chance to enjoy themselves and just be kids.
As the children arrived for the day in their special Children’s Fun Day T-shirts, they had group pictures taken on the stairs of the Mandir. Then they entered the mandir for a brief presentation on India and Indian culture. Each was then offered the opportunity to participate in a Hindu ritual, the arti. For most children, it was their first visit to a mandir, and so a great learning experience.
After a hot breakfast, the children were then free to roam the grounds and participate in the various games and attractions that had been organized including: jumping castles, a 35 metre giant slide, an animal farm with horses, pony rides, carousels, ferris wheels, a dunking machine, a steam train, soccer, face-painting, storybook reading, colouring, beadwork, clowns, magicians and performing poodles.
During the day the children were also served a hot lunch, snacks and ice cream. The day of fun concluded with BAPS volunteers, dressed as Santa Claus, giving each child a bag of gifts. For many, it would be the only gifts they received for Christmas. As the kids boarded their buses, the smiles on their face and their innocent laughter made it clear that they had enjoyed their day of fun and food.
The Children’s Fun Day was created three years ago by a group of BAPS youth volutneers who wanted to offer hope and fun for disadvantaged children. With the support of BAPS and BAPS Care, BAPS South Africa was able to plan and host this event successfully for the third year in a row with the assistance of the Art of Living Foundation and the Transvaal United Patidar Soceity. This year’s event saw the highest number of children, over 1000, being able to enjoy the various programs.
List of Orphanages/Homes (Click to see letters of appreciation from the organization)
1. Twilight Children
2. Nazerath House
3. Vuselela Ulwazi
4. Children of Fire
5. Guild Cottage
6. Enerdale SOS Children
7. Othandweni Family Care Center
8. Dorah’s Ark
11. Aryan Benevolent Home
12. Hare Krishna Soweto
13. East Bank Children’s Home
14. Lerato Love Home
15. Ebeneezer Children’s Home