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Sunday, September 16, 2007

GSB Ganpati donations go the right way

In this season of joy and merriment a few mandals in Mumbai city, try to ensure that some of the huge donations they receive, helps the needy.

Ganesh Chaturthi, a time when hundreds of mitra mandals across the city gear up for their annual celebrations.

A festival of abundance where money flows in freely. But much of the money earned by the various mandal trusts finds its way right back to the people.

''The mandal gave me everything, thanks to their scholarship I am here today,'' said 32-year-old Ramesh, who works for a bank in Riyadh.

Born and brought up in a chawl in Bhandup, he never thought he would one day afford a home for his family.

Ramesh's father, a priest could not afford him a proper education. But the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin Seva Mandal's annual student scholarship did just that.

GSB first celebrated its Ganesh Utsav in 1951. Since then the idols have grown, so has the collection. Donation boxes are filled with over 10 lakh rupees every year and some is reserved for educational give aways.

Small and crowded chawls are where the mandal's services are needed most.

Helping hands

The Sarvajanik Ganesh Ustav Mandal in Lalbaug, set up a study centre five years ago that offers free courses in computer programming.

It also holds free lectures for the Maharashtra Public Service Exam and gives away books for free.

''This is a neighbourhood of mill workers where each home is very small. It's really small for the whole family to fit into that space.

''Very often there is no space for children to study. This study centre helps them to concentrate on studying,'' said Dattaram Joshi, Chairman of Trust.

The spirit of the festival is kept alive by funding the dreams of many, who otherwise have no other recourse.

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