Bhubaneswar : The Daan Utsav or the Joy of Giving Week is a national festival of giving celebrated every year from 2nd to 8th October. Bakul Foundation, which is a movement to promote volunteerism and an attempt to demonstrate the power of volunteerism, has been celebrating 2nd October as a National Day of Service in which volunteers of Bakul in Odisha go in groups to different orphanages, old age homes and slums and spread smiles, joy and learning.
The Bakul volunteers from Odisha, who have moved out to other cities also celebrate the spirit of volunteering they developed with Bakul in their respective cities. This year, the Day of Service is being celebrated not only in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Sambalpur but also in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities. The Day of Service created by Bakul in 2012 for the first time and celebrated every year since then sees the participation of hundreds of volunteers, with most of them experiencing the joy of volunteering for the first time, and many of them turning into committed volunteers after that.
The child care institutions also have been very thankful to Bakul and the Day of Service as earlier people used to visit them to gift food and other items, but few used to engage with the children and do activities with them. Because of the day of service, many volunteers got connected to these institutions and they kept going regularly for activities. Hence, the volunteers of Bakul decided to organize special learning activities this time.
Because Bakul has a focus on promoting the joy of reading, there was animated storytelling at most of the orphanages. In addition, at the Bakul Library, about 60 children of Madhurmayee Ashram for children of jail inmates, got to Play with Clay and make mould clay into different shapes with facilitation by a well-known sculptor, Smrutikanta Rout and team. At RSSO, Mural artist Dibyush Jena led the children and volunteers in painting the boundary wall of the institution. At Nilapadia Basti near Damana, dancer Harihar Dash and actress Anubha Sourya engaged the 100 odd children assembled there. At the Bakul Library in Cuttack, famous director of Odia cinema, Basanta Sahoo interacted with children after the screening of his film.
The entire event in 13 institutions in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and in 13 cities of India happened without any funding but entirely with contributions of volunteers. Volunteers paid for the stationery, food and even in ferrying children to the library for the activities.