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February 2012 Newsletter

February 2012

Dear friends,

New Year’s greetings to all of you from Asha Niketan Asansol! This issue of Ashar Deep brings you updates on the many goings on of our community, a special introduction to one of our dear core-members and a reflection by Sabine Fernandes, a volunteer who joined us last December. We are always encouraged by the constant support of our readers, without which this newsletter would not be possible and would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the joy you bring to our blossoming community. We truly cherish the life journey you have undertaken with us.

(Balaram Samanta ,Community leader)

The month of September heralded much celebration and revelry for all of us at Asha Niketan Asansol. The festivity began with Vishwakarma Puja (The God of Instruments). A special prayer service was held in the workshop to commemorate the occasion and core-members, parents and all residential members of the community were in attendance.

October was highlighted by the much awaited Durga Puja, during which all of our core-members and assistants visited pandals by night and participated in the family puja of community friend Mrs. Sapna Sarkar Roy by day. A few local clubs also invited us to join in their observance of the sacred occasion.

Lakshmi puja followed shortly after, and the community celebrated it with the Samanta family, after which we also celebrated Kali Puja and Diwali. Again, friends of the community opened their doors to all of our core-members and assistants, lighting the night up with smiles and fireworks.

Bhaiphonta (Brother’s Day) made its yearly appearance and drew our friends, board members, core-members and assistants together, to renew the bonds of our alliance and forge new ones as well.

All these festivals brought a lot of happiness to our community. They offered each of us, core-member, assistant, family and friend alike, the chance to meet new people, different people, and create friendship with them. It is in the spirit of fraternity that our Asha Niketan Asansol community worships the gods and goddesses of humanity.

The community held a raffle draw in November as part of a fundraiser. The St. Patrick’s and St. Vincent’s schools were the primary supporters of the programme and we owe its success to their dedicated help. We are exceedingly grateful to the principals, teachers and students of the schools, as well as our board members and friends, for their generous aid in the organization of the programme.

Our Asha Niketan Asansol dance troupe, consisting of core-members and assistants, was invited by Little Angels School, Barakar to perform on the occasion of their annual athletic meet. This was well appreciated by all present.

 

Christmas was soon in the air and once again, the holiday season brought us all together. We witnessed the birth of Jesus through a drama performed by our core-members. This Christmas breathed much delight into the hearts of our core-members, which they expressed in their performances of songs and dances.

We ushered in the New Year with a bang on the 31st of December, and Asha Niketan Asansol had quite the party with music, dancing, singing and…fireworks!

On the 17th of January our new kitchen was inaugurated by none other than a friend of Asha Niketan ,USA, Mrs. Usha Venkataraghavan. All of our core-members were excited to enjoy the new dining space and we are grateful to L’arche International for its invaluable financial support.

The community, our core-members, their parents and assistants went on a picnic at the Maithon dam on the 22nd of January. This was a great opportunity for the parents and community to continue their friendship.

On the 26th of January, the community joyfully celebrated Republic Day and our leader Balaram Samanta explained the meaning of this great occasion to our core-members, offering much gravity to the happy day.

We celebrated Saraswati Puja (The Goddess of Learning) in the beginning of February, and as always, it was yet another occasion for members of our community to gather in worship and friendship.

Over the last few months we celebrated many birthdays of members of Asha Niketan Asansol, reminding ourselves of the value of every one of those individuals. They are all unique and integral parts of our community, always ready to be there when we need them most.

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to Brother Conred who has unceasingly extracted time from his busy schedule to give our assistants their weekly Saturday formation sessions. Thank you so much brother for your unwavering inspiration and the appreciation you have for the work we do, through the formation programme.

We are also thankful to Brother Cedy and his band of young brothers who have joined us each Wednesday in our day-care and workshop activities. All of our core-members and assistants have so enjoyed their time with us.

Over the course of recent months, the students of Loreto Convent, Asansol, St. Vincent’s and St. Patrick’s Asansol, have frequently visited our community. The visits have greatly helped our core-members interact with society at large and ensured the social securities’ of our people.

In other news, our assistant Amit Sarkar visited our Bangalore community in the month of September to learn candle making and experience life in another Asha Niketan. Since then, he has initiated the much thriving candle project in our workshop.

Asha Niketan Asansol has welcomed three new volunteers, Sabine Fernandes from Kolkata, Andrea Incze from L’arche Cork, Ireland and Lena Grote from Germany.

Without much more ado, we shall now present to you our one of our founding core-members, Joyanto Roy.

 

 

The story of Joyanto Roy

 

Joyanto, came to us on the unforgettable day of the 20th of May, 2007, from the Missionaries of Charity Shantinagar, Burdwan.

When Joyanto first became a part of our family he was very weak, fragile and afraid of people. His parents have never been known, and to our best knowledge he was discovered fending for himself on the street. Over the last five years at Asha Niketan Asansol, he has grown into a strong, happy and welcoming boy of almost fifteen.

Joyanto cannot speak but can understand others very well, following simple instructions effectively and joyfully. In the time he has spent with us he has even learned a few ways to communicate his needs and feelings to those around him. For instance, he brings an assistant a water bottle to convey his thirst or guides an assistant to the kitchen when it is time for tea.  He has learned to go to the toilet on his own, wash his hands, eat without assistance and sit calmly in one place. He loves to dress up and manages to wear lower garments on his own. He enjoys human touch and is always eager to hold the hands of others. He has also developed hobbies, swimming, spinning around, listening to music and making his own rhythms, to name a few. During our day-care activities he is able to complete all his assigned puzzles and tasks with relative ease and laughs upon successfully finishing his work. Joyanto is now learning to partake in daily household tasks and we pray that he continues to grown in body, mind and spirit, remaining the kind hearted and honest individual he is.

 

 

 

We are very grateful to Sabine who has contributed a brief reflecting of her experiences

for our newsletter.

 

 

I find myself tearing at my hair more often than I’d like lately. That and the fact that I always seem to be talking about how exhausted I am. Or the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve been this happy. Working at Asha Niketan Asansol has been no piece of cake. Being a part of this community however, has been the best, biggest slice of the most delicatessen offering any confectionary has ever conjured. I did try a short stint at caring for children with mental and physical disabilities at Shishu Bhavan, Koltata, but nothing I’ve ever done can quite compare to my experience here. It’s not just the early mornings, hectic day-care classes and hard work or the threads of organization building and community living that I’ve been picking up. It’s the honest emotion and profound clarity that the core-members have confronted me with. It’s almost too beautiful to bear. I have learned empathy, forgiveness and trust in ways that I will never be able to live. I have been challenged to find strength in reserves I didn’t know I possessed. And of course, I cannot begin to describe the inspiration that the assistants’ dedication brings me daily. So yes, I’m tired. But incredibly happy. And unimaginably thankful.

 

Sabine Fernandes

 

 

Asha Niketan Asansol

B.C. College Road, St. Vincent’s School Campus, Asansol – 713304. West-Bengal, INDIA.

E-mail: anasansol@gmail.com | Phone : +91(0)341 6459817

Website: www.fmrindiaasaniketan.com