After the initial interaction with the First Year blind students, it was time to have an orientation for all the volunteers who were eagerly waiting to know what Saathi was, how it works, and the treasure of fun that lies within the four walls of A3. Registration forms were already sent across the First-Year students and because the registrations crossed the count of 700, the orientation was decided to take place on October 14, 2020 at 11 AM. Because of the pandemic, Saathi Orientation could not be held offline, so after joining hands with the new normal, the orientation took place on MS Teams. The chief guest was the Principal of Fergusson College, Dr. Ravindra Singh Pardeshi Sir. The program started in the presence of the chief guest, Santosh Dhotre Sir, the HOD of Hindi Department and Sameer Sir from IQAC, sharp at 11 AM.
The student coordinators first introduced Saathi Enabling Centre and in brief talked about what Saathi is. They demonstrated the significance of the logo and motto of Saathi Enabling Centre. Another coordinator explained all the activities that take place every year in Saathi. Some of these activities include Music Masti Gappa Gaani, performances of students of Saathi in Spandan, Saathi fest, and seminars – which are now webinars – conducted for all the students and volunteers. They also told about the new initiative ‘Let’s Record’ in which individuals from all over the world have recorded more than 200+ audio books which is accessible to all the blind students. Virtual Study Circle has recently been added to the list of activities in which volunteers and blind students meet virtually and discuss whatever happened during the class lectures.
Next, Santosh Dhotre Sir, the HOD of Hindi Department and Teacher Coordinator of Saathi Enabling Centre, stepped forward to talk to the volunteers. He spoke about how Saathi has helped people achieve their dreams and he encouraged students to work for the betterment of the population. After Dhotre Sir, Sameer Sir from the IQAC department pointed out how Saathi grew over the years. He was pleased with the recent activities and programs that Saathi initiates and motivated everyone to think of more innovative ideas to make the society a better place, not just for the blind students, but also for us.
The chief guest, Dr. Ravindra Singh Pardeshi Sir, was then called to address the students. Principal Sir narrated the story of how Saathi came into being and how everyone was brought closer because of this one Centre. He revealed about the various facilities the college provides to the blind students like the Braille Corner, where the blind are taught to operate a computer. He appreciated the efforts of the previous volunteers and put forth an ideal for them how the present volunteers need to work for Saathi.
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Later, another student coordinator narrated the success stories of Saathi students. He even expressed about the benefits of being in Saathi. He demonstrated how the volunteers get their credits for working in Saathi, how they can make friends in Saathi, and how one can have an epiphany of self-worth. He also spoke about how one can develop various qualities by being a part of the Saathi family. After this, experiences by volunteers and blind pupils were told to the crowd. Two volunteers from SY and two senior blind students of Saathi shared their tale of being a part of Saathi, and a wave of motivation was spread through their words.
The most-awaited part of the program, which is the performances by blind students, began after the experiences. Dhanashri from SYBA sang a song in her melodious voice and Hrishikesh Waghmare from FYBA played the song Lag Jaa Gale on the keyboard, which awed the audience.
Saathi Enabling Centre is a place to make friends and family. The vice like sympathy has no place in Saathi, and this was made clear before the vote of thanks. After the vote of thanks by a coordinator, a question-and-answer session was held for the volunteers in which they could ask all the doubts they had regarding Saathi.
It was an interactive discussion, and all the volunteers were enthralled by the task they had ahead of them for this academic year. The coordinators were thrilled from the response they received and by the end of it, everyone – even through the online mode – seemed excited with the warm welcome that was extended towards them.
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