Sunday, January 21, 2018

Christmas at the Ashram

...proof that season is a universal celebration

Santa distributes presents to children during a Christmas treat hosted by Under The Peepal Tree Ashram in Aranguez last year


No child should be left feeling unwanted on Christmas Day.

And Under the Peepal Tree Ashram, a Hindu organisation, has proved that there are no barriers in religion to making a child happy.

For almost three decades the Aranguez-based organisation has been visiting the St Mary's Children's Home in Tacarigua bringing Christmas cheer to the children.

Rasheed "Naga" Ali, president of the Ashram, said the Christmas Day parade begins at Aranguez Park and ends at the Children's Home.

The children are then treated to entertainment, goodies and a gift distribution by Santa himself.

He said, “The visit to the orphanage is a little emotional because there you meet children who have no one. You get to hug the children and make them smile. They get to meet Santa and receive gifts. It is a really good feeling.”

Ali said he believes in the teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba – that there is only one religion, the religion of love.

Rasheed Ali, president of Under The Peepal Tree Ashram, chats with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh during a Christmas treat hosted at Aranguez Park.

But not only children at the Children's Home are treated by the Ashram.

Ali said on the weekend before Christmas the Ashram hosts a grand children's party at the Aranguez Park.

This year, the children's treat takes place next Saturday December 23.

He said about 400 children from surrounding communities are treated to entertainment and gifts.

The children will enjoy bouncy castle, petting zoo, pony ride, face painting and refreshments.

Ali said he was thankful to the corporate sponsors who foot the bills for the events.

“There is one businessman, a Muslim, who is the first to deliver toys for the children. I am very thankful to him. And to everyone who assists in this amazing venture. It is heart-warming to see how many people are willing to help us to put smiles on these children's faces,” he said.