Sunday, 14 August 2011

More celebrations!

The day after Deep Griha Society’s 36th Birthday, was another important day for the charity. It was a day of celebration with two ceremonies taking place, the first was the ‘Breaking the Ground’ ceremony at The City of Knowledge –Vidyanagari and the second was the ‘Inauguration of The Chapel’ at The City of Child.

The Breaking the Ground ceremony was to celebrate the beginning of the construction of a new school building at The City of Knowledge English-medium School.

Everyone who works for Deep Griha and people associated with them were all invited to be part of the celebrations. The ceremony took place next to one of the ruined buildings located on the 15 acres of school land. The focal point was a small square section of ground that was surrounded by Rangoli and covered in Marigold flowers.

Breaking the Ground Ceremony.

All the staff in their colourful outfits.

Rangoli is Indian art that is drawn on the ground for celebrations using, coloured flour, sand, flowers or petals; on occasions, all of these materials are used at once.

Rangoli square of blessed ground.


 The ceremony began with everyone singing the Indian National Anthem which then led to a few speeches and a presentation of a red rose and coconut to selected important supporters of Deep Griha Society. It then was time for everyone, starting with Dr Neela Onawale (the Founder and Director of Deep Griha Society), to ‘break the ground within the Rangoli square with a pickaxe. Everyone else was then invited to break the ground also.

Breaking the ground.

Me having a go!

After the ceremony there was time to walk around and explore the grounds of the school. At the far end of the grounds, were two large empty concrete wells. One of them had a small trapped cat in it! It must’ve fallen in and there was no way it could get back out! A few of us tried to rescue it by tying our scarves together, dangling it in with the hope that it would climb up it, but it didn’t, it was just too scared! There was nothing we could do! It was horrible to leave it there because it would surely die and end up like the skeleton of a cat that was also in the well! We told the caretaker of the school about the cat and he promised to rescue it but I’m not sure if he actually did! I hope he did!

Poor cat in the well!

Cat skeleton!

Posing by the well.

The afternoon ceremony took place at The City of Child which is a residential project located about 15 minutes drive from The City of Knowledge in a village called Kasurdi, 45km from Pune. It provides a safe caring environment for children to live in, who are all either orphans or come from single parent families who are unable to provide sufficient care for them. 

When we arrived, we were greeted by all the children who led us in a musical procession from the entrance of the complex to the dining hall where we were served a delicious lunch of rice, dhal, chapattis and a vegetable dish.

In front of the chapel, was a decorative pink shelter, under which we all sat for the Inauguration in honour of the late founder of Deep Griha Society, Reverend Bhaskar Onawale who died last year.

Children's procession.
Delicious lunch.

Once again there were a few speeches and then the new name plaque was revealed. Just as some of the children were about to perform dances and songs in celebration, the heavens opened! The shelter we were sitting under really wasn’t water proof and we quickly got really soaked! So, we all had to move inside the chapel and sit cross legged on the floor with hardly any space between us to sit comfortably. I found it
particularly uncomfortable as my bum and feet all went numb because of the hard floor!

The big reveal!

Before the rains set in!

The children all performed songs and Bollywood dances which were brilliant and somewhat touching. One boy sang a Marathi song about his mother and it moved some of the ladies to tears! Some of children were such good dancers! In particular, a little girl called Lata who’s about 6 years old was amazing! She danced with so much attitude! It was so cute! 

Great dancing!

Sweet Lata.


After all the entertainment, while we were waiting for the coach to take us back to Pune, there was time to play with the children in their playground, pushing them on the swings and roundabout, which they all loved.

When it was time leave on the coaches, a few of the children snuck on with us and had to be told off and ordered off the coach. They were very cheeky!

It was such a nice heart warming day and being at The City of Child with all the children, I saw how happy they all were; they were like one big family, looking out for and caring for each other. It was great to think that because of Deep Griha Society, they all have a better, more grounded start to life. It was lovely to see and be part of.

Thanks to Susannah Hodge and Gorakh Shinde for some of these pictures.

If you want more information about Deep Griha Society or are interested in helping them continue to do the brilliant work that they do for the people of Pune, India, 
please visit their website: 
or email:

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