Daan Utsav spreads joy across the state

Daan Utsav or the Joy of Giving Week, India’s biggest giving festival started on October 2 and will continue till October 8,  coinciding this year with Durga Puja celebrations.

But that has not stopped the festival that started only in 2009 from spreading its roots across different demographics and geographies in Odisha. The different ways in which different kinds of people have come together to give and to get the joy in giving, shows that anyone can give and it can start in the smallest simplest most doable ways.

The 300 volunteers of Bakul Foundation that went out to different slums in Bhubaneswar to spread joy among children through games, craft and story creation sessions included the popular film actor, Priya Choudhury. retired Executive Director of NALCO, Amiya Patnaik at one end and 13-year-old Nikhaar Somani at the other end. It was amazing seeming Patnaik become a child with the children and young Nikhaar, who felt like an adult teaching craft to younger children.

There have been younger volunteers celebrating Daan Utsav. Bhubaneswar Changemakers, which works with citizens to build more inclusive communities, got their young changemakers, small children to have a learning exchange with students of nearby Kabaripada Govt School. The young changemakers also cleaned up their own park and play area and felicitated waste collectors.

Daan Utsav this year has connected the young with the old as well. The students of Women’s College in Malkangiri wrote letters to elders in their community to make them feel wanted and special. The Nagarika Mancha at Hata-Muniguda in Rayagada came forward and gifted new and old clothes to 150 tribal people from a nearby community. They had organized a feast for them as well.

Like every Year, Mission Odisha led the celebrations in Puri. They organized a blood donation camp in Gopabandhu Ayurvedic College to provide blood to thalassemia patients. The blood donors included Badri Mishra, who has now donated blood 109 times. He said that he had made up his mind in advance to give blood during this time during Daan Utsav. Bone mineral density tests were also conducted for many people, mostly senior citizens, and doctors also advised them on nutrition and what to do to address their deficiency.

The biggest celebrations this year, though, has been in Dhenkanal in which the entire town came together to celebrate Daan Utsav. In fact, the Dhenkanal Municipality decided to celebrate #DaanUtsav as a Patha Utsav in which a stretch of the main road was blocked to vehicular traffic. The celebrations included senior citizens doing yoga and young children doing martial arts, attractive cultural performances, fruit tree distribution by SGI, health camps, and service by Prajapita Brahmakumaris and ISKCON.

At Ramachandrapur Prathamika Vidyalaya, Gondia, the Inner Wheel Club distributed new garments gifted new clothes and sarees etc to the grandparents of students from nearby hamlets. DPS Dhenkanal decided to celebrate giving with their essential staff and gave them tokens of appreciation and gifts.

There have been many initiatives to get children to think about the Joy of Giving as well. The Rotary Vidya Mandir, Gajamara organized a debate competition on “Joy of Giving” and distributed teaching learning materials and sweets to school students. Bipin Mohanty, who has been a volunteer and ardent ambassador of Daan Utsav in Odisha has also invited children to participate in an essay and drawing competition on “Make your School the Kindest” by sending entries by email to [email protected] and the selected entries would be published in a book.


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