Our 20th Anniversary Celebration was a day of great joy and cheer. Our staff and trainees worked hard to make the event a success and a time of celebration and gratitude for all the wonderful years that have gone by. In the past 20 years, at Diya, we have seen lives transformed and tangible growth for so many of our trainees and we are so thankful for the impact we get to make during their journeys. So on the occasion of our 20th anniversary, we rejoiced with our families, partners, donors, well wishers and made the evening a night to remember. We thank Catholic Club for accommodating us with their venue and everyone who put so much effort into setting the venue up and organizing all the technical details.
Our evening began with our trainees welcoming all of our guests and family members. Our trainees escorted each guest to their designated table and made them feel extremely welcome. The evening was packed with fun performances and special appreciations. Our trainee, Shivapriya was the Emcee for the evening. She put the evening into motion by introducing Monisha and inviting her to give the welcome speech by using the Avaaz application. Monisha struggles with her speech, but with the help of Avaaz, she has been able to communicate with ease and express all that she desires. As with all technical devices and their complications, after an initial struggle to get things going with the sound and video, Mona finally began her speech, and the whole room listened and were amazed with Mona’s skill. She impressed everyone instantly and smiled her biggest grin yet when she finished her speech! It was a complete delight for her to be able to address the audience with her words. The lighting of the lamp was done by Mr. Basavaraj, Commissioner of Disability, Our Chief Guest, Maj. Mohan Rao, our past Trustee, Rosemary George, A parent, Bhuvaneshwari, a beneficiary and Mrs. Mary Thomas, a Staff. Our trainee, Priyanka then performed a graceful prayer dance. She was as decked up as she could be and smiled through her entire performance. A group song was the next performance and our trainees Jiju, Bhuvaneshwari, Sneha, Sree Charan sang the song ‘The World stands in need of Liberation’, while Mark accompanied them on the bongo. They did their best effort and the audience cheered for them as they took their bow towards the end. An anniversary special video was projected and everyone listened carefully to all that was being shared.
Priyanka then introduced our Chief Guest for the evening, Mr. Basavaraj and read out loud with confidence. Mr. Basavaraj then addressed the crowd. Our Guest of honor, Mr. Aloysius Fernandes was then introduced and welcomed as well. The evening was then energized by a fun hip hop dance performance by Pavithra, Priyanka, Ashwin. They danced in syc and looked fantastic in their matching costumes. A special thank you to our dance consultant, Mridula, who choreographed their performance and helped them practise and perform in front of an audience! Our trustee, Mrs. Marguerita Lobo, then addressed the crowd and shared her appreciation for Shirley Metlin and Sendhil Kumar, our long standing Staff at Diya. Shiva carried the show on and sang a solo song with confidence and the audience loved it. Another group song followed, ‘Count your blessings’ performed by the Diya Choir! Sarah then took to the mic to address and thank all those who have been a part of the Diya Journey. Suman introduced our students and presented them all to the gathering. As we approached the end of our evening and the most awaited part, our Chef for the evening, Regi Mathew, was introduced and thanked for working so marvellously well in collaboration with our trainees to cook an exquisite malayali cuisine meal for everyone. Father Eric led the gathering in a moment of prayer before the meal and said Grace for the food as well as for all the people who put their effort into cooking. Dinner was then served! Everyone enjoyed the food and chatted and met each other over a delicious meal. Our trainees were hospitable and served every dish with a smile.
The evening wrapped up with a lot contented hearts and happy stomachs. We are so grateful to everyone present and those who couldn’t make it for being a part of the Diya family and sharing in our joy.