Today Wednesday the 16th June 2010 the Primary school had their first Assembly with the students from the I standard to the IV standards. The children were well behaved and sat in perfect silence. The assembly began with the Vande Mataram, the National Anthem and the pledge.
Fr. Rector, Fr. Godfrey D'Souza; Fr. Principal, Fr. Crispino D'Souza
and Fr. Administrator, Fr. Edwin Colaco making an entrance

The little compere, then took us through the programme with a recitation of a poem by a group of boys who recited a stanza each of 'All things bright and beautiful.' A poem was later recited by one of the boys to welcome the group for the new academic year.

The compere taking the pledge

All things bright and beautiful a poem recited by a student

The theme for the assembly was 'Care For Creation.' This is the theme taken up for the year and promoted by Pope Benedict XVI. As a school we have taken this theme and will see that it runs through the entire programme of the school at the assemblies.

Every bird every tree....sung by the chorus in keeping with the theme

The boys then sang ' Every bird every tree, helps me know helps me see...' in keeping with the theme.
Fr. Godfrey D'Souza the Rector was then invited up to say a few words to the assembly. He introduced Fr. Edwin Colaco, the new administrator to the boys and he also spoke of Bro. Roshan Gonsalves and said that Bro. Roshan was also new to the salesian community and the institution.

A prayer for teachers recited by our teacher Mary D'Souza

Fr. Rector spoke in keeping with the theme and told the assembly that God gave us a beautiful creation and we need to take care of the same. When we do not take care of the environment we are in fact destroying ourselves little by little. Hence it is important to take care of our surroundings. He also insisted that we need to do our little part in keeping our home, school and its surroundings clean and green.

Fr. Crispino the Principal gave a few instructions to the boys before we ended with the school anthem.

Fr. Rector moving to the stage to say a few words of welcome

Fr. Crispino D'Souza giving a few instructions to the students

Leaving the assembly

Maharashtra State Level Consultation on International Anti Child Labour Day

Balprafulta, a Don Bosco Child Rights Organization, along with Holistic Child Development of India (HCDI), Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) and CARE (Mahrashtra), on the occasion of the International Anti Child Labour Day, organized a State Level Consultation on June 11 and 12, 2010, with participants from both Government and Non-Government Organizations. For quite some time now, those working in the area of Child Labour felt that an upsurge had to be created in Maharashtra to curb the exploitation of children in the labour market. Hence Balprafulta, celebrating its 10th Anniversary, took the initiative to bring about a convergence of various stakeholders and move towards preparing a Vision Document for the eradication of Child Labour in Maharashtra.

From Government Organizations those who participated in the Consultation were DCP Sheela Sail (Mumbai Crime Branch) and DYSP Mr. Ghondhe (Maharashtra) of the Home Department, Mr. Illwe (Director of Labour Cell) and Mr. Shailendra Pol (Asst. Labour Commissioner) from the Labour Department, Ms. Jayant Pavnikar from the Department of Women and Child Welfare, Mr. Suryakant Kulkarni and Ms. Farida Lambe from the State Child Rights Commission, Dr. Mane from the Mumbai University Law Department, Ms Neelam Gorhe, MLA and Shiv Sena spokesperson, and Mr. Waidande from YASHADA. Also present were representatives from UNICEF, CRY, Childline India Foundation, Saathi, Pratham, CCVC, YUVA, Td.H, FACSE, Shikshan Haq Abhiyan (Western Maharashtra), Nari Probadhan Manch (Latur), Apulki (Jalgoan), Apeksha (Amravati), ARC (Pune) and others. In all over 100 people enthusiastically participated in the two-day proceedings that centered on finding new ways to make the Government focus on the issue of Child Labour and at the same time create a groundswell to make people more aware of this malaise in our society.

Some highlights of the Consultation were:

- Enforce the implementation of the J.J. Act (2000) along with the Amendments (2006) and entirely scrape off the Child Labour Regulation and Prohibition Act of 1986.

- Using the J.J. Act as central, amalgamate all other child related laws and create a new Child Protection Act.

- Transfer the responsibility for children (everyone below the age of 18) from the Labour Department to the Department for Women and Child Welfare and work towards strengthening this Department.

- Presently the entire process of Re-Integration of children after rescue is weak. Work towards building a comprehensive plan which will support the re-integration of children into mainstream society.

- Use the provisions allowed in the Children’s Act and insist on creating Children’s Courts. This will enable fast track prosecution as well as create greater sensitivity towards vulnerable children.

- Right across all Departments of the State, it must be unanimously accepted that a child is anyone who has not completed 18 years of age.

- Scrape the term “Child Labour” and instead use a more inclusive term “Working Child”.

- To create a groundswell and increase awareness, focus on sustained advocacy by regularly raising questions on children in the Assembly, insisting on budgetary provisions for children and writing in the newspapers about the plight of working children.

A spark has been ignited and Balprafulta along with many others wish that this spark turns not only into a flame, but grows into a fire that will purge away the exploitation our children suffer under the hands of unscrupulous employers. A unanimous cry from all the participants was to work towards making Maharashtra a ‘Child Labour Free State.’