ROOFS FOR THE ROOFLESS
DR. CHANDRAN DEVANESEN RURAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The Work Skills Inauguration function for the 17th batch of students was held on 23rd August 2018. It was wonderful to see a large turn out of parents. The 70 Diploma students looked bright and happy in their new College uniforms designed by Mrs. Nanda Devanesen. Dr.Fr.Xavier Alphonse was the Chief Guest. We placed a ‘Ponnadai’ on him as a special ‘welcome back’ to the position of Director of the Indian Centre for Research and Development of Community Education. (ICRDCE). Roofs Manager, Mr. Emmanuel, was the Master of Ceremonies.
During the program two themes emerged. The first one was on ‘light’. Representatives from the parents, students, staff and guests lit the traditional lamp ‘Kuthuvilakku’. It symbolized the search for light that dispels darkness through knowledge and learning. The light replaces ignorance, so that wisdom and goodness prevail. Later, the Nursing Students lit lamps with candles and took the Florence Nightingale Pledge. Here the lamps symbolized nursing care and devotion. (Florence Nightingale was known as ‘the lady with the lamp’). The Pledge and ceremony date back to 1893. The Nursing Students were ably guided by their teacher Mrs. Regini Sekar.
Fr. Xavier led a powerful interactive discussion on the values that governed successful Work Skills, such as, hard work, punctuality and respect for teachers. He also motivated the students to have dreams for themselves. He joined in with the students as they repeated this famous quote from our previous President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam. This made ‘dreams’ our second theme.
Dream, Dream and Dream
Dreams become thoughts
Thoughts become actions
Actions become life
Life that is fruitful and useful
to our self, to others,
to the family, the community
our country and humanity.
Dr. Abdul Kalam also said, “A dream is not that what you see while sleeping. It is something that does not let you sleep”.
Fr. Xavier played a video of a popular Tamil song that shared his ideas for the students. Here are a few lines from the song Ovvoru-Pookalume (Each Flower):
Let’s read the poem of life
Let’s think and dream to the height of the sky
Is there a history without failure?
Life is a battle which has to be fought
Every time the sun rises it tells us that
If there is night (darkness) there comes day (light) following it.
We should live our life with confidence
We will attain our goals one day.
The Director, Dr.Dayalan Devanesen, reminded the students of the role of his parents. His father, the Founder, Dr.Chandran Devanesen wished for excellence in education for rural India. His mother Savithri Devanesen worked as the Director of Roofs till she was 99 years old – a life of dedicated service. He said that one of his father’s dreams was to set up a Rural Community College. Fr. Xavier had made his dream a reality by helping to establish this Rural Community College and many other community colleges across India. The Director asked the students to have dreams of achievement. He said that they now have the opportunity to make their dreams and their parents dreams for them, come true. Life Skills taught them to believe in themselves and make every day at college count. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you are going to die tomorrow”. The Director added, “Learn as if you are going to live forever”. Though our bodies stop growing our brain and our mind can continue to grow as long as we live. So be a life long learner, he said.
Group photos were taken after the function. The parents stayed back to have discussions with the staff and the Coordinator Mr. Sekar .Many parents expressed how pleased they were with the remarkable change they saw in their children after the Life Skills course.
Please uphold the work of Roofs for the Roofless in your prayers.