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The program, attended by students of Sharada Mandir School, Panaji and students from the Institute of Instruction, Panaji, began with a brief introduction by Principal Nirmala Rebello. Following this, Mr. Ibonio D’Souza, Executive Director of Goa Sudharop gave a welcome address wherein he emphasized that “citizens should work unitedly to create a sensitive and caring society. Since society is made up of you and me, each citizen must make his or her own individual contribution towards this national goal”.
Mr. Oscar Gonsalves, Administrator, Sharada Mandir also spoke briefly about the computer project initiated by Goa Sudharop some years ago. At the time only very few schools including Sharada Mandir, had their own computer systems. Goa Sudharop members from abroad collected surplus and used computers in good condition and supplied them to several schools in Goa. The project was a huge success as students and teachers alike were able to use and familiarize themselves with computers.
The seminar itself commenced with a talk on ‘Making a difference’ by Fr. Maverick Fernandes, Council of Socail Justice and Peace. He explained how many people today seem to have “stopped living and are merely existing”. Instead, we need to be concerned about our neighbour and what we can do for others. Furthermore, we need to also take an interest in the many issues that concern our surroundings, our environment and our State and strive to do something that will make a positive difference.
The next session was by Mrs. Sabina Martins, a teacher from Sharada Mandir and also a social activist. She talked of many of her own experiences as a youth when she first realized that each one of us has a responsibility towards society. An instance she narrated was when she, along with a band of other youth, had helped improve the conditions at a school in a remote village. The school recently completed 25 years of existence and it was a very satisfying experience for her when she and the others were invited and she saw how the students who studied there were now successful in different fields of life.
The third session was conducted by Mr. Soter D’Souza of the Peaceful Society, Kundaim, Ponda,Goa. Mr. D’Souza explained that each of us needs to be a responsible citizen who contributes to society while at the same time embracing the principles of truth, fearlessness, self- reliance and a concern for the environment. Explaining that we not only have rights but also have duties, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi who said, “If we all simply insist on rights and no duties, there will be utter confusion and chaos”.
The last session was conducted by Pravin Sabnis, HR Trainer of Unlearning Unlimited. Mr Sabnis spoke on the topic ‘Caring for Mother Nature’, explaining that the word CARE can be considered as an acronym for Concern, Attention, Reduce-Recycle-Reuse, and Empathy. Saying that there are three types of people in the world - those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened – he asked the students to ponder on which category each one belonged to. Each of us can change something in the way we do things, so as to lessen our impact on the environment. The students were then presented with certificates of participation and there was also a special prize to the best student participant.