Daan Utsav, the nationwide festival of giving, began on the 1st of October. Enthusiastic participation from all the institutions of Manipal University drove the weeklong celebrations to a success, touching countless lives in the process. Vocalizing the concept of charity and giving back to society, the festival is a shining example of the social good that can be achieved when society puts its mind to it.
It was not just any other Sunday in Manipal as Daan Utsav, India’s festival of giving, got off to a perfect start. Volunteer Services Organization and Human Powered Endeavours came together to launch Daan Utsav and Tour De Manipal on the 1st of October. Dr. H S Ballal, Pro Chancellor, Manipal University flagged off the cycle rally. The rally had fifteen cyclists travelling from the Manipal to the Mangalore campus, carrying and spreading the ideas of Daan Utsav, anti-pollution and fitness awareness.
VSO Mangalore began the Daan Utsav celebrations with Gyaan Daan Saptah, organized by the Department of Forensic Medicine, KMC Mangalore.
A total of eleven events were planned and executed by the Manipal volunteers on the first day of the festival, which started with the NCC Cadets taking part in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, in line with the Rashtriya Swachata Diwas. There was generous support to the cause from the faculty of Manipal University.
RedX and Rotaract Club of Manipal University organized a mass blood donation camp, with around two hundred and fifty volunteers coming forward to donate. The event Aarogyaarpan saw students from Manipal College of Nursing visiting a slum in the Indrali area and donating sanitary kits along with rations to the families there. The families also received a basic education on hygiene and sanitation. The Ecological Conservation & Habitat Restoration Organization (ECHO Manipal) conducted a plantation drive, planting around fifteen saplings throughout the MIT Manipal campus.
VSO Mangalore started the Rice bucket Challenge, where food from messes were collected over the week and then donated to beneficiaries. Meal for a Smile was conducted in Manipal, with over two hundred underprivileged people being provided a lunch at KMC Greens by Chef On Wheels.
The Anatomy Museum of KMC Mangalore hosted school kids as part of the Gyaan Daan Saptah event for Daan Utsav. VSO Manipal carried forward the theme of Daan Utsav to their regular projects like their visits to old age homes and pediatric wards, spreading the message among the elders and distributing sketching kits and smiley balls among the kids.
The Photography Club, Manipal took part in Daan Utsav through their project,Yaadein, in which student photographers visited slums in and around Manipal, clicking pictures of the families there. Hard copies of the photos were given to the dwellers to preserve as a memory.
The School of Allied Health Sciences conducted Aarogyadaan, a fitness program for government schools in Parkala. Children from the eighth to the tenth grade were screened, with the results analysed and used to used to provide necessary suggestions to improve their physical health.
VSO Manipal started Rangat, a one-of-its-kind cultural event where various performances signifying the Daan Utsav celebrations were put up every evening. In the first event Goonj, the traditional lamp lighting inauguration was replaced with the dignitaries watering a plant.
Several choir groups exhibited their singing skills, with the special attraction being a drummer who performed whilst blindfolded.
Happy dots, small smiley stickers put on the finger after an act of giving, caught the eye of everyone in Manipal this Daan Utsav. From the Registrar and the Vice Chancellor to the kids in the slum, these stickers brought instant smiles on the faces of everyone.
The students of the Faculty of Architecture celebrated Daan Utsav with children in Asare through their project Special Day. Footwear was donated to everyone in the Home for the Mentally Challenged, along with some gifts for the winners of the conducted games. This was the first time FOA was taking part in an activity of this sort and it was a sweet beginning for them.
The Sports Council of Manipal University and VSO conducted sports activities for over a hundred special children in the Manasa Rehabilitation Centre, Udupi and thirty five kids from Asare. Yoga sessions and recreational activities were also a part of the event.
The School of Communication collected old newspapers, used registers and books over the whole week under Lend a Hand. The collected materials, that finally amounted to over five hundred kilos of newspapers and books, were sold and the funds used to buy new stationery kits for students of CSI Boarding School, Udupi and Yakshagana Kendra, Indrali.
Another interesting event in Mangalore was the Act of Kindness Challenge, where the students clicked photographs after an act of giving and posted it on social media platforms. They kept the cycle going by challenging their peers to do the same, ensuring more participation.
Vyanjan, the second day of Rangat, kept the audience entertained with a slam poetry session and a performance by the Kalamanch group from SOC.
The Rural India Project (TRIP), in collaboration with the United Nations recognized Letters of Love organization, started Love from TRIP ,where students and faculty were invited to write anonymous letters of love to send wishes to Syrian refugee kids residing in Turkey. Over two hundred and fifty letters were collected just within three hours on the first day. By the last day, they had amassed over nine hundred wishes from all over Manipal.
Rakta Daan, a blood donation drive by SOAHS received overwhelming response.
The Master of Social Work department under the Department of Public Health celebrated Daan Utsav by providing health education to the children of Subhodini Higher Primary School and the Nehru High School, along with a health check-up camp for students and members of Panchayat. Awareness of the importance of cleanliness in our daily lives was created.
The team of Department of Commerce, Manipal University was instrumental in executing Gyaan Daan, where residents of Namma Bhoomi in Kundapur were educated on spoken English and financial aspects so to help them improve their businesses. A group of 30 students visited the Namma Nalanda school and conducted multiple sessions on skill development.
The Sports Council of Manipal University, in association with VSO, conveyed their gratitude towards the Police Department with the presentation of a Thank You board to KT Balakrishna IPS, the superintendent of Udupi District. The board, which had the signatures of Deans, faculty and students of Manipal University, left the SP pleasantly surprised and touched.
The Sports Council also recognized Manipal University staff and officers who had served in the armed forces and facilitated them for their stupendous service. Thirty-three ex-servicemen received mementos from Dr. H.S. Ballal, Pro Chancellor, Manipal University and Dr. H. Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, Manipal University.
VSO volunteers and the department staff paid a surprise visit to the night security guards and the campus patrol and distributed tea to all of the 220 guards in both campuses, showing their appreciation for their service in maintaining the safety of the campus.
Daan Utsav entered its fifth day, with the events galore continuing to bring smiles on everyone’s faces.
MCODS hosted Brush the Milky Way, distributing a thousand toothbrushes and toothpaste to students from six different schools in Karkala. Dental hygiene was also promoted among the kids.
Naari Suraksha, a self defence workshop, was conducted by KMC, Manipal and VSO along with Falcon Fitness on the 6th and 7th of October. Dr. Poornima Baliga, Dean, KMC Manipal, inaugurated the event and shared anecdotes conveying the importance of self defence.
Adult diapers, dental kits, and a water purifier were donated to the destitute ward in Government Wenlock Hospital, Kasturba Medical College as part of the Care Kits Distribution event. The kits were received by Dr. Rajeshwari Devi, District Medical Officer, Govt Wenlock Hospital.
Under the Step to Help project, footwear distribution to the seventy three students of Govt. Hr. Pry. School Bejai, Kapikkad took place.
Faculty from the various constituent colleges of Manipal University performed under one roof on the Day 4 of Rangat. Dr. Ullas Kamath, Dr. G.K. Prabhu, Mr. Suhas Kowshik, Dr. G. Subraya Bhat, Dr. Murlidhar Pai, Dr. Abhishek Rao and Dr. Bharat Rajguru put up performances, leaving the crowd enthralled as they witnessed their faculty in a new role.
The penultimate day of Daan Utsav 2016 saw a further increase in the variety of events with no decrease in energy.
The Student Abroad Programme (SAP) introduced students of government schools to the American flavor of fun. Everyone grooved to the tunes of Cha Slide as they were taught a few dance steps.
The Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA) conducted Annadaan in a Saralabettu school, preparing and providing lunch to the students there. The menu consisted of a sandwich, fried rice and Manchurian.
Clean drinking water bottles were provided to all the drivers of the Transport Section, Manipal University through Dr. Narayana Sabhahit, Registrar, Manipal University in a show of appreciation for the services provided.
Dr. Ullas Kamath, Dean, MMMC hosted the housekeeping staff of Melaka Manipal Medical College hi-tea in Chai pe Charcha. The staff shared their experiences a few exhibited their talents of recitation and singing.
MMMC, Manipal University inaugurated The Healthy School Project in the Rajeev Nagar Government School. MMMC has planned a series of activities for the school, such as stress management, nutrition management,teacher empowerment workshop and BLS training for teachers.
Bhavtarang, the final day of Rangat had the largest turnout of all the days. The dance groups of MCODS, Manipal and DOC, Manipal left the audience wanting more. Pehchaan Troupe of MCODS put up a street play conveying the dangers of drug abuse and the ADA group from MIT ended the series of cultural events on a high with a hilarious performance.
Splash and Dash, Manipal University’s trademark Daan Utsav event that has been recognized and appreciated nationally, was organized by MIT, Manipal this year. A hundred and fifty cars were washed across the university campuses in Manipal. Students from the Faculty of Architecture also participated in the event by washing cars at the petrol pump at Tiger Circle. More than twenty five thousand rupees was collected, and the money used to provide clean, hygienic water bottles to the bus drivers in and around Manipal and Udupi. The Udupi police also extended support in supplying water bottles to the bus drivers.
With India having the second highest number of deaths due to air pollution, the dusty and polluted junctions manned by the traffic police are a huge threat to their health. The School of Life Sciences, Manipal University helped combat this risk by providing breathing masks to the traffic police. “With this initial awareness, we hope that the policemen do not breathe polluted air” said Sandeep Mallya, faculty of SOLS.
Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences celebrated Daan Utsav by organising Cultural programmes and creative games for the kids of Sri Krishna Balaniketan, Kukkikatte.
Varun Keri | MIT, Manipal (2013-2017)