Mumbai: Now, donate a stationery item, every time you seek the blessings of a sarvajanik Ganpati. With Ganesh mandals raking in lakhs of rupees during every festival, this time an innovative idea has been initiated by Team Parivartan, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which works for the poor and tribals. The volunteers across Maharashtra have requested Ganeshotsav mandals across the state to place a stationery collection box next to the donation boxes.
“This box will help devotees contribute books, pencils, pens, erasers, and other stationery items,which will be then given to educational institutes located in tribal areas,” said Tushar Warang, a coordinator of Team Parivartan. So far Team Parivartan has approached most prominent Ganesh mandals and have received a positive response from three mandals. They have put up banners outside the prominent mandals.
“Sarvajanik Ganesh mandals are keen to keep a money box but do not seem interested in keeping a box to collect stationery. In fact, after the Kerala floods, one of the demands made was for stationery items. Till now, only a few Ganesh mandals have allowed us to place a stationery donation box in their pandals — Dattaraut Maidan Ganesh mandal (Dadar), Kamathipuracha Chintamani, 14th Lane and the Vasantdada Patil College of Sion. Before the start of Ganesh festival, Team Parivartan had approached various schools and colleges located in tribal areas of Maharashtra. One school gave them this idea.
“One of the schools in Latur, which educates tribal children, approached us saying they require stationery items, which is when we thought of approaching the mandals,” said Warang. After the initial lukewarm response, the idea of donating stationery seems to have caught on. Naresh Dahibavkar, the president of Samanvya Samiti said, “All the organisers should help such causes all year round, it should not be restricted to only Ganesh festival only. Mandals should help each other throughout the year. This idea will be made mandatory for all Ganesh mandals from next year onwards.”