CHENNAI: Dance, mime, jokes and a room full of laughter was all that one could find at the Sathyamurthy school’s auditorium recently. The school was hosting the valedictory function of the second Ryla Balu Sir summer camp organised by the Bala Mandir Kamaraj Trust.
“We began organising this camp in the memory of a remarkable man, VY Gaitonde, who devoted 60 years of his life to take care of children and the institution,” says Maya Gaitonde, General Secretary of the Trust. Balu sir, as Gaitonde was referred to by the children, would teach, sing songs and narrate imaginative stories to kids. “They simply loved it. The children began calling him Balu sir, relating him to Bhalu’s character in The Jungle Book,” recalls Maya.
The 15-day camp had different kinds of activities including story telling, sketching, folk dance, theater and craft work. “We usually include children from Class one to eight in the school, but next year, we are planning to include underprivileged children living in and around the school as well,” she adds.
The valedictory function had dance and mime performances, each with a message. One of the performances depicted the importance of playing outdoor games. “Children become lazy and obese by playing video games and sitting at home all day. I hope our performance has encouraged children to play outdoors,” says an excited Uma Maheshwari, a Class eight student.
This year, Rotary Club had partly sponsored the camp activities. ISAK Nazer, Rotary Club governor, presided over the function. “It is a true privilege to see the beautiful crafts by these talented children,” he says, pointing to the exhibits. “I hope we continue to associate ourselves with The Bala Mandir Trust and keep serving society, especially the children,” he adds.