| Children attend workshops at Anjali children’s festival and (below) Suravi-2011 in Bhubaneswar. Pictures by Sanjib Mukherjee
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 14: Anjali Children’s International Festival was fun while it lasted. However, as it drew to a close today, emotional scenes of teary-eyed children bidding goodbyes to each other were witnessed.
“The past five days were great fun. I made many friends at the camp and shared happy moments. Though I am eager to return home and see my parents, I will miss my friends very much,” said Serena, a nine-year-old participant from Manipur.
Many others exchanged handmade cards and gifts as mementos, noted down each other’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses to keep in touch. “I loved the carefree atmosphere and wish the camp lasted a little longer,” said M. Manju of Pondicherry, who suffers from Down’s syndrome.
Earlier in the day, the children celebrated Christmas and took part in a glitzy cultural programme. Governor M.C. Bhandare was the chief guest and he gave away the prizes to 13 Anjali scholars, who had won various events and competitions organised at the camp. The national festival, which started in 2000 as Project Anjali to provide a platform to differently-abled children to flaunt their talents and skills, received an overwhelming response.
Following this, Anjali turned into an inclusive learning programme and four years later, became a full-fledged children’s fiesta.
The festival entered its 10th edition this year and kicked off with a spectacular carnival on November 9.
More than 1,000 children from Odisha and 17 other states participated and camped at the Adivasi Ground for the past five days.
On Monday the curtains also came down on Suravi-2011, the three-day state-level children’s fest organised by the school and mass education department. Over 5,000 children from all the 30 districts of the state participated in the event.
In the afternoon, an interactive session between the children and officials of the school and mass education department was organised. The children raised issues such as the status of education in backward districts, promotion of a child-friendly atmosphere in schools, implementation of various schemes for students and steps being taken to improve the education scenario in the state with department secretary Aparajita Sarangi.
Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said 1,480 high schools would be set up in the state and a calendar of activities containing a list of curricular and co-curricular activities would be prepared by the school and mass education department.
“In the past five years, the enrolment ratio has gone up from 58 to 84 per cent while the dropout rate has come down from 52 to 5 per cent. The enrolment of girls has also increased,” he said.