7th Feb, 2016 marked the inter-home sports fest day organised by Bhumi. This event witnessed participation from many orphanages and shelter homes in and around Chennai. The event provided a platform for children to exhibit their talent, athletic prowess, and develop sportsmanship attitude. Coming from a lesser privileged background, these children hardly get any exposure to sports and this event essentially gives them that opportunity and plays a major part in helping them explore their talents.
Looking at the statistics of the event, the numbers look incredible. Kids from over 48 homes poured in for the event, of which 12 of the homes were participating in the event for the first time. A Nakshatra record-breaking 1290 children participated in the event. The event was made possible because of the efforts of 240 volunteers. This year the sports fest was hosted by Agni College of Technology, a spacious area helping cover all events such Indoor, Outdoor, Track, and Field.
The event day commenced 9:00 am, quickly all the kids were provided with a sumptuous breakfast followed by a brief photo session for each home. The venue sported a tent erected to provide seating arrangements for the kids and duly the inauguration ceremony kicked-off at 9:30 am with the grand tradition of lighting the torch, which was passed around in short lap by student representatives of winning homes of previous years. Shortly after this Mr. Ayyanar, co-founder of Bhumi, delivered the inaugural speech with anecdotes drawn from his personal life and soon the crowd was submerged in his words of wisdom, setting the tone for the day.
Referees for the event consisting of some of the prominent students from the Tamilnadu Sports and Physical Education University presided over the ceremony. Their constant encouragement and their fair and unbiased judgement throughout the event were exemplary for the students. They showed true passion for the game as they patiently described the rules for each game and oversaw the proceedings of the day with their knowledge and expertise.
Children, both boys and girls, participated in three categories – Juniors, Seniors, Super Seniors. 100m, 200m, and 400m race followed by the most anticipated track event – the relay. Field events including shot put, long jump, and high jump, saw enthusiastic competition. The outdoor events showed the maximum energy and loud cheering with events such as Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, Tennikoit, Volleyball, mini-football, shuttle badminton, and throwball. Simultaneously the indoor event saw quiet sporting among the kids with Carrom and Chess.
The day’s events progressed in quick succession and the kids were kept entertained with various fun activities as well. Each home were assigned two volunteers, who primarily attended to the task of guiding the kids to respective game venues, with children’s safety and welfare given the utmost importance.
As the day came to an end, Vaishnavi Srinivasan, Executive Director of Bhumi graced the occasion and carried out the announcement of the winners. Soon the medals and certificates were distributed to the winners of the events. The valedictory ceremony was headed by a distinguished guest, Mr. Ashok Balasubramanaian, an accomplished badminton player having represented Tamil Nadu and India. He delivered a speech with much fervour to a high spirited crowd. He lit the minds of the children and volunteers alike by signifying the importance of sports, the spirit of sportsmanship, and fuelling a passion for developing sports talent in the kids.
The crowd now ever so zealous, awaited the announcement of the Overall Best Home Performance awards. Dr. Prahalathan carried out the announcements, and ecstatic kids of winning homes raced up to the stage and bagged their award gleefully. The prize distribution ceremony was completed by 6.00 PM and with the vote of thanks delivered, the day came to a conclusion.
It was an eventful day, for both the children and the volunteers. Smiles and grins brightened the evening, and laughter and giggles resonated in the air, as the children waved off goodbyes to the volunteers and other homes. Nothing was amiss as they parted ways, only treasuring the memories and bid adieu with bountiful happiness. On the other side, a profound sense of belongingness and nostalgia lingered around the volunteers as they wound up after the day’s events exhausted with a sweet sense of satisfaction and contentment. Alas the months of their preparation had to come a grand finish and they stated with pride the success of the event.
The Nakshatra meetings date back to early December when the flood relief activities were being carried and the volunteers started focussing on this simultaneously. The event was discussed on a regular basis and updates were shared with all volunteers. Mutual understandings were drawn upon frequent meetings with the coordinators and the event was planned out. A first of its kind, this Nakshatra saw the release of a Nakshatra Anthem, an upbeat song capturing the spirit of Nakshatra.
Moving on to acknowledgements, Bhumi on behalf of all the children and the homes that participated, and volunteers, shares its heartfelt gratitude to all the sponsors and donors whose support and contribution has made a huge difference to this event’s success. Right from Agni College of Technology for providing their space for the venue, Eco Kitchen and Greenways Restaurant, T. Nagar for providing Breakfast and Lunch, the companies and colleges who supported by providing their buses for commute to and fro to the venue, and to all donations and funds which have helped in procuring the necessary materials and in organising the event. We are thankful to all our well-wishers for their prayers and belief in us, because of whom the event was a resounding success.