The Upnagaracha Raja mandal in Borivli will be spending Rs 5 lakh, received as donation from devotees, to pay for the education of underprivileged children
In his annual trip to the city, Mumbai's reigning deity is taking his duties as the patron deity of knowledge rather seriously, spreading the joy of learning among 113 children.
Good Cause: The Ekta Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandal in Borivli, has
earmarked a sum of R5 lakh for the monetary expenses of the
underprivileged children. PIC/SAYED SAMEER ABEDI
While the city's wealthiest mandals are busy planning how they will craft lavish backdrops and ornaments for their idols with the stupendous amounts raked in from devotees this year, the Ekta Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandal in Borivli, popularly known as Upnagaracha Raja, is spending all its collections to sponsor the education of 113 impoverished children who live nearby until their parents can afford to do so.
For the last 15 years, the mandal has been shouldering the monetary expenses for the education of 50 children each year, but expanded the scheme to bless 63 more kids with the gift of literacy.
The mandal has earmarked a sum of Rs 5 lakh for the same.
Mandal secretary Milind Kolwankar said, "We have been involved in such causes for many years now. There are many underprivileged children living in slums near our pandal, and our aim is to make them literate. We love answering their prayers, which their impoverished families are unable to do."
Spokesperson for the mandal Virendra Yadav said, "Our mandal believes in organising Ganeshotsav in a simple way, and we don't spend much of our collection on ostentatious decorations for the idol: instead we use a large part of what we rake in for a worthy cause. Ganpati is the God of Knowledge. Spreading knowledge is the most pure form of devotion."
Each year, the mandal distributes pamphlets among devotees, and willing sponsors come forward and contact the mandal to make contributions.
The mandal then uses those funds for the education of local underprivileged children, whose names are added
regularly to a database maintained by it.
The mandal then admits the children to different schools, keeping their language preference in mind.
Besides paying their fees, it provides them with the necessary paraphernalia of education, even paying for the school trips made by them.
One of the beneficiaries of this praiseworthy programme is the Bagwe family from Borivli (East).
The mandal has been sponsoring the education of the Bagwe couple's daughter for four years now. Pranita, who is now in Std VI, said, "My mother is a domestic helper, and my ailing father has not been able to work for four years.
Our family is crippled financially. The mandal has been taking care of my academic needs. They have also promised to help my four-year-old bother Harshal, who has been admitted to the nursery section in an English medium school.