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Sakhi-Sammelan, Sacramento, April 3 2005.

(Report by: Rasika Acharya)

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha, Sacramento celebrated "Sakhi Sammelan" (fun day for women) and "Bal-Sammelan" (fun day for kids) on Sunday, 3rd of April 2005, at the Orangevale Grange Hall & the neighboring church halls.

Total sankhya of women was 34, which includes 9 sevikas from the Orangevale-Folsom shakha and 3 sevikas from the bay area.This being the first time that two simultaneous events were organized, 4 KKs from the bay area had come to help us.The year 2005, happens to be the centenary year of Vandaniya `Mausiji` (Laxmibai Kelkar), who was the founder of Rashtra Sevika Samiti in 1938. Hence, we thought it is a great reason to start a special event for women in the Sacramento region for the first time! In other areas every year HSS has been organizing this event especially for women to meet informally and learn together with common goal of preserving the great Indian culture and heritage.

The program started at 10:15 AM with shloka chanting (Rasika Acharya & Anjali Patel), followed by a `Swagat geet` by Pallavi Pandit.

Warm-ups and Surya namaskar & Yoga sessions (Anjali Sheth & Rasika Acharya) followed closely. One of our Baudhik sessions had to be cancelled as the doctor who was supposed to speak on `Women`s heart health` had to go on an emergency. So the bay area sevikas (Hemangi Vaidya & Anjali Patel) took some `Samata related games and Surya namaskar shloka and names.

This was followed by `Sharireek games` (Kathy Masters, Hemangi Vaidya, Dipti Desai,Renu Sharma).Everyone enjoyed the games and freely mingled with new faces, so it was a good ice-breaker! After this exhaustive but fun session we had a small break for snack/tea, but the four groups were given a task to achieve during the break. The task was to decide on a story (with a good moral or message to convey) for the `Story-enacting session` in the afternoon.

After the break, we had a `Garbha dancing` session, lead by Nirali Purani. All the women enjoyed learning new steps of garbha and danced on the melodious music totally without inhibitions! After this session we all saw a video recording of the `ganavesh divas by sevikas in Pune` and it was amazing to see almost 1100 sevikas (4 years to 80 years age) dressed in gana-vesh enjoying the day filled with so many activities. That was inspiring to many new women.

We had the geet, "Sanghatan ka maha mantra" before lunch, followed by bhojan mantra and then lunch (donated by sevaral restaurants & friends in the area)

After the lunch break, there was the "Salad-Decoration" competition in pairs. The women were fast & creative as they had a short time to show their skill. This was followed by `Flower-making` craft demonstartion by Shubhnagi Konnur. All the participants wanted more time to try doing the beautiful flowers but we had a short time alloted for it, so we moved on to the next session which was a `baudhik` by Easan Katir ji on " Hindu Parenting". His 20-year old daugter, Vinita also participated in the talk and there was a question-answer session where several mothers came up with questions about the challenges that we all face in bringing up our kids in the western world!

This was followed by the "Story-enacting" session, which was conducted in 4 groups. They were given 10 minutes to get ready with their story and characters and each group did a wonderful job in a such a short time. They tried to show their acting talents and we all had fun, but all the stories enacted had a moral or a message to remember and carry-home!

After this fun-session we had a short,inspiring talk on Vandaniya "Mausiji" by Hemangi Vaidya ji. It was an eye-opener talk as a lot of women were not aware of "Mausi ji`s" life-story and vision!

The concluding part started with prize-dsitribution and "Prarthana Samarop", which was common for Sakhi & Bal Sammelan participants. The program ended at 4:15pm.

It was indeed a very tiring day for both the women & the kids but a memorable one! Inspite of several hurdles it was a successful event and we got a lot of positive feed-back from the new-comers! Thanks to the help and moral support by the bay-area team and to the great team-work of our local KKs.

All the participants went home with a lot of positive energy and inspiration.Every year Sakhi Sammelan is organized by HSS to bring women together for a good cause. This was the first year we did it in Sacramento region and we hope to do an even better job with it next year! Several other women-related events will follow as this year is the birth centenary year of Vandaniya Mausiji (Lakshmibai Kelkar), founder of Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the focus of the organization is women taking leading role in the society.

Here are some of pictures of sakhi sammelan! Some more will follow later.......



-Rasika Acharya


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