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A chapter of hot lunch, warm sentiments
- Premier school invites 400 children of rag-pickers for a day of laddoos, fun & a health camp thrown in

’Tis the season of giving. Students of a premier Ranchi school learnt this lesson the best way possible by dishing out some special Christmas cheer to some 400 children of rag pickers on Thursday.

When many schools flaunt their cool quotient in winter with fashion shows and the like, St Anthony’s School, an ICSE-affiliated school at Doranda, showed its warm heart.

The school teamed up with NGO Rag Pickers’ Educational Development Society (Reds), to offer a bellyful of fun to the 400 needy children — steaming hot lunch, clothes, presents and a free health camp.

In return, the needy children presented a cultural programme of songs, dance and a skit.

NGO Reds brought the wide-eyed children — residents of slums in and around the capital — to the school.

“Our aim is to make our students, who hail from middle class to affluent homes, sensitive towards the less privileged ones in society,” said school principal C.A. Francis.

“Around this time, we usually host events like these,” the principal added.

“We believe through such activities we can contribute towards building a humane society that is concerned about each other. A healthy society is the need of the hour,” he said.

He added that it was heart-warming to see even parents chip in.

“Among the doctors who pitched in for the health check-up camp, some were also parents of our students. They willingly checked out the general condition of the children and eyesight in particular,” said the principal.

St Anthony’s School students also fed their guests.

Senior students in uniforms went around with serving pails and ladles, feeding the slum children a simple but nourishing lunch of rice, dal, mixed vegetable curry. There were laddoos as dessert.

But the highlight of the day was when shy slum children started presenting their return gift to St Anthony’s School.

The children took centre stage with a song-and-dance programme. Then, came the surprise. The children presented a mature skit depicting the evil of alcoholism, showing how circumstances had made them much wiser than their years.

“I wish all schools held such beautiful programmes where children of different strata interact with each other. Affluent children should be sensitised towards their needy counterparts at an early age so that they are not prejudiced against the poor,” said Vijay Kamath, a former college teacher and social worker among the audience.

Truer words never said.