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‘Rajo Queens in Bhubaneswar Slum’

‘Rajo Queens in Bhubaneswar Slum’

Bhubaneswar, 16.6.2017:(By Prasant Kumar Bhuyan)  Away from glitz and glitter of swanky hotels and lush lawns of  urban cities, the narrow and muddy lanes of Salia Sahi slum reverberated with songs  and dances to the popular numbers of Odia and Hindi films and folk music by the women and girls on the occasion of Rajo festival. Various rounds of competitions like music chair, quiz, straw-ball game and tug of war were organized among the women and girls of eight habitations in Salia Sahi during past two weeks by Society for Nature, Education and Health (SNEH)—an NGO working with the marginalized communities of the largest slum of the state. These events culminated on the grand finale being held in Mayfair Nagar Basti (habitation) on 16th June, 2017. As an extension of SNEH’s ongoing HIV/AIDS program, this unique festival of ‘fertility’ coinciding with the advent of monsoon in the state, the NGO has been organizing this event every year to mainstream the deprived sections of slum community by instilling in them a sense of dignity and self worth. The slum women prove their intellectual capabilities from participation in quiz competition held on various topics including general knowledge, current affairs, awareness on health, hygiene, mother and child care as well as knowledge on HIV/AIDS. Their creativity instincts are expressed through ‘Mehendi’ and dexterity and power through straw ball and tug of war competitions. Odia cine stars Papu Pom Pom, Pinky Priyadarshini and former Indian women Football captain and coach Ms Sradhanjali Samantray, Sukant Kumar Pradhan Deputy Manager RCH, Sarat Pradhan Branch Manager FCI and women Football Coach, Sri Nandakishore Pattanaik attended the program and crowned the four finalists as Rajo Queens 2017. The women and girls of the slum also enjoyed the Rajo Swings.

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