Following a flag raising and national anthem ceremony, the school then honours Sai Maa for the support received through the Just One program. A small but beautiful puja is held, and gratitude is offered. The older students have created vases and flower decorations especially for this ceremony. Cake and Indian sweets (ladu) made by the teachers are distributed to all students and guests and the quiet respect during the ceremony is soon replaced with the excited voices of many young children receiving their gifts of cake and ladu.
During all the celebrations the cooks for the Sai Maa Just One program have been busy preparing a special meal for the 310 students and family members. Today’s meal is a special treat of fried potato, vegetable and soya ball curry, fried bread (puri) and the sweet rice pudding (Kheer) so loved by the children. The curry today has a high protein content, and is extremely nourishing for these children as well as well liked!!!
After eating their cake and sweets, all the students wash their hands and on their return are served a nutritious meal before returning to their homes. This meal is very popular – perhaps because of the energy expended in walking and chanting – and many extra servings are requested. The sweets did not seem to lessen the appetite of even the smallest children for the nutritious foods that followed! Today the meal is again served with much love and with much joy by the older students, and consumed with equal gusto by all students from the youngest to the oldest.
This day ends with excited, happy and satisfied children returning to their families filled with nutritious food and bubbling with the joy of life! Such a beautiful contrast to the quiet and reserved children we met on our first entry through the gates of the Shiva Ji Mission School on January 1 this year!!