Sibling celebration

Raksha Bandhan is an annual festival in India and Nepal that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters. The name means ‘bond of protection’. It is a day when siblings wish each other happiness and goodwill. Sisters tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on their brother’s wrist symbolising her love and prayers for his well-being. Then brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harm. Children from the Shishu Jagat (Children’s World) programme at the CRS education centres in Basanti Devi Colony and Sukantanagar organized a Raksha Bandhan celebration on 18th August.

A great Bengali birthday

Rabindranath Tagore, the writer, poet, playwright, musician and philosopher, is much beloved by Bengalis. His work greatly influenced Bengali culture in the late 19th and early 20th century and he was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Bengali people around the world celebrate every year on his birthday anniversary in early May with a cultural festival called Rabindra Jayanti. This year children from the CRS Education Centre at BD Colony celebrated the day by performing some of Tagore’s songs and dances, and reciting select poetry and prose. One of the teachers also gave a talk about his contributions to society and culture.

Celebrating the three Rs

All CRS staff gathered in the main office in mid-January to celebrate three birthdays: Ratna, Rig and Rao. Ratna works as an assistant on the women’s empowerment project, Rig is the Director responsible for the overall management of the organisation, and Rao is the office helper. Together they have contributed decades of dedicated service to CRS. The birthdays were celebrated in the traditional way – with singing, cake and gifts!

Christmas celebrations

India is a multi-faith nation and Kolkata generally enjoys good relations between different religious communities. Moreover, people like to enjoy the festivals of other religions, as well as their own. They can involve decorations and parades, special food, and a few days of holiday. The majority of beneficiaries of CRS projects are Muslim or Hindu, but everyone celebrated Christmas in December. Children at the CRS Education Centres enjoyed Christmas parties with food treats and balloons. Meanwhile, CRS’s staff also gathered together to celebrate the season. On 22 December they decorated the office and donned festive hats, enjoying cakes and treats.

Partying in style

Children from some of Kolkata’s poorest slums were privileged to enter the gates of Raj Bhavan on 14th December. Raj Bhavan, a grand palace built in Neoclassical style and completed in 1803, is the official residence of the Governor of West Bengal. 45 children from CRS Education Centres in Basanti Devi Colony, Bibibagan, Sukantanagar and Hastings were selected to attend a Christmas Party hosted by the Calcutta Foundation, an NGO, in the grounds of the palace. The children enjoyed playing group games, and received gifts and food packets. They also met with the Governor himself, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi.