Prayers offered in a different way in Kolkata

September 21st, 2009 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 21 (IANS) A Kolkata NGO is all set to offer prayers this Durga puja in a different way. The festivities will be organised by physically challenged, destitute and marginalised children of society with the help of OFFER (Organisation For Friends Energies and Resources).
“In our puja, everything is organised by around 5,000 children. We have four homes for children,” Kallol Ghosh, secretary, OFFER told IANS.

OFFER has four homes - Anandaghar for children who are HIV positive, Apanjan for mentally challenged children and Sahajpath which provides educational sponsorships to needy children in collaboration with the West Bengal government. The fourth home, Apanghar is for socially orphaned children like those from red light areas.

Durga puja is the biggest festival of West Bengal and lasts four days. This festival demands mammoth tasks and rituals, which are usually done by the elders. This year, however, children will help with the preparations for the festival.

“The children are now busy with the decoration of the mandap (the area where puja will be performed),” Ghosh said. “This effort by OFFER is to bring these kids into the mainstream.”

The children of these homes, who range from two to 12 years in age, will also be busy making alpana (decorative paintings) for the puja.

“Apart from this, they will help the elders with their work,” Ghosh said.

The puja will be conducted at the Apanjan premises and every evening the children will perform cultural programmes.

OFFER is more than two decades old.

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