Natasha Almeida MUMBAI, JUNE 13, 2009: The AV hall at the Provincial House, Matunga beamed with happy faces and fresh fragrance of mogra flowers as women from Jyoti, Virar and the slum areas of Mahim and Dharavi settled in for the Valedictory Function of ‘Skills for Livelihood through Sewing- Training’ on the afternoon of June 13, 2009. The sewing course for women was one of the activities of Don Bosco Development Society in collaboration with the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) and instituted by the Apparel Training and Design Centre (ATDC). Besides the team from the Mumbai Development Office, in attendance for the function were Mr. Jayesh Jasani, Deputy Chairman of Corporate Social Responsibility from CMAI; Mr. Vijay Sharma, Deputy Secretary, CMAI; Mr. Sunil Talekar, Principal of ATDC and Mr. Deepak Temgere, Facilitator for the training held at Mahim. The function commenced with the opening address by Mr. Melvin Pangya from the Mumbai Development Office. After the introductory round, a prayer song ‘Gyan Mandira: Satyam Shivam Sundara’ was sung by a few women led by Ms. Surekha Pednekar. The prayer song was followed by the lighting of the diya by the dignitaries and representatives of the participants. Mr. Melvin rightly stated, “Deep jalake hamne andhakar ko nasht kiya hai aur yehi ujale ke saath aage chalna hai”. A surprise element during the function was that a group of women for the Dharavi slums sang a welcome song in English. They seemed confident and had a satisfied smile on their faces. After the women from Dharavi added more enthusiasm to the function, Ms. Shweta a participant from Mahim came to the podium and shared her experiences about the training programme. She clearly beamed with self confidence and was all praise for DBDS and CMAI for the direction given. She added that she and the others now felt independent and were not afraid of venturing further. Mr. Vijay Sharma from CMAI while addressing the participants encouraged them not to stagnate at what they had learnt but instead take it ahead and help improve the conditions of the family. Mr. Sunil Talekar too shared his views about taking the learning process ahead. To this a participant from Mahim asked for help for starting her own business and taking what she had learnt ahead. This clearly reflected her dedication and enthusiasm to improve her family’s life. Fr. Savio Silveira thanked all the participants for their co-operation and was hopeful that a tailoring unit could begin in the near future. The motivational words were followed by the most important part of Distribution of Certificates. The faces of the participants had a sense of achievement. For them they had taken a brave step ahead and wished not to stop there. The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Ms. Surekha. The participants left with certificates in their hands, smiles on their faces and memories to cherish that would surely last a while.