21st June 2017
Yoga Day - June 2017
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice with its deep-rooted origins in India. Since it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and shares a special significance in many parts of the world, International Day of Yoga, or Yoga Day, is celebrated annually in many countries on 21st June since its inception in 2015 – as per a unanimous declaration by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
This day carries special significance for Divyaj Foundation being our Annual Featured Event since our inception. The inaugural Yoga Day event was held on 21st June 2017 at the NSCI Dome, Worli (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium). For the event, Divyaj Foundation invited 650 children from the Shantilal Muttha Foundation, which is headquartered in Pune. The Shantilal Muttha Foundation (SMF) is a not-for-profit organization founded to bring about fundamental changes in school education. While school-change involves many areas of work, SMF is currently focused on two, inter-linked areas in which they have considerable in-house expertise: Education For Values and School Quality Assessment.
These 650 children – children of farmers who killed themselves – cope with acute mental trauma, but they say very little. In a place where ‘mental health’ is still a very alien concept, the fact that a parent’s suicide can damage the child remains unrecognised. In a bid to show these silent sufferers a good time and to teach them the arts of self-healing through Yoga, Divyaj Foundation has been conducting these annual Yoga Day events with the sole focus of showing appreciation towards their hardships.
Divyaj Foundation arranged the transportation, accommodation and meals for these children and invited them to Mumbai a day before the event. A mini sight-seeing tour was organized on the first day covering places of historical importance in Mumbai like the Nehru Science Center, Nehru Planetarium, the Gateway of India among others. This arrangement created a superior, outing feel for the children which they enjoyed thoroughly.
The event day had an early start with the lighting of the lamp ceremony presided over by the Chief Guest, Maharashtra state’s Hon’ble Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Also attending the event were Mr. Shantilal Muttha – Founder of the Muttha Foundation, Mr. Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Mrs. Manju Lodha – Lodha Group, actors Mr. Jackie Shroff & Mr. Swapnil Joshi and Mazhar Nadiadwala, Director of Cineyug Entertainment & DOME. Members of the Divyaj Foundation present at the event included Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis – Advisor of the Divyaj Foundation, Dr. Mickey Mehta – Holistic Health Guru, Mr. Sampath Iyer – Managing trustee, Mrs. Pallavi Shrivastava – Trustee, Mr. Kavin Shah – State Secretary, BJP and Mrs. Rajalakshmi Iyer – Core member.
The opening ceremony was followed by a welcome address where many inspirational words were shared with the attending children. The Hon’ble Chief Minister Mr. Devendra Fadnavis then felicitated all the attending merit students. Dr. Mickey Mehta and his team followed this up with an exhaustive Yoga session that everyone, including all the attendees as well as the present dignitaries participated in. Considering the emotional aspect of the children, this was followed by a very detailed meditation session conducted by Mrs. Rajalakshmi Iyer. After a quick photo session with the attending children, Mr. Sampath Iyer showcased a motivational video presentation followed by a motivational talk with Dr. Yuvaraj J. Bhosale, ISKCON. Mrs. Manju Lodha, an ardent philanthropist, poet and writer based in Mumbai and the Chairperson of the NGO ‘Lodha Foundation’ addressed the children with her powerful and highly impactful speech.
Divyaj Foundation 2018
Towards the end of the event, a vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. Sampath Iyer and Divyaj Foundation distributed school bags & water bottles to the children and they took leave of Mumbai to head back to Pune in the late afternoon. This 1-day event has become one of the most sought-after events by the attending children who eagerly anticipate its return year-on-year.