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COME November, two of Bollywood's noted singers will be in Bahrain to present a live show for a charitable cause, and the Hindi film music fans here are already counting days to enjoy the musical treat.

The Indian Ladies Association (ILA) is organising the fund-raiser show in aid of Sneha, the recreation centre for the mentally challenged children, featuring award-winning Bollywood singers

Award-winning Bollywood singers Shreya Ghosal and Shaan - who also earned fame as the anchor of the popular singing contest programme, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa will together entertain the expected 5,000 mutli-national audience on November 25 at Al Ahli Stadium.

A free style group dance competition will also be held on the same day, with the preliminary selections to be held in October, explained ILA president Vani Krishnan adding that "only five groups will be selected for the finals, which will be held on the big day."

With a busy schedule ahead after the summer break, the ILA is planning on October 1, its annual Workers' Day, inviting around 2,000 workers from the various labour camps of Bahrain providing entertainment, more than 100 raffle prizes and a buffet dinner "everything free of charge," she said.

The Workers' Welfare Committee selects one labour camp every month and donates home cooked meals made by the members and the annual Workers Day is an event the workers look forward to attending. The venue, this year will be, the Indian Club grounds.

On October 7, a grand 'Daandiya Raas' (a folk dance from the Indian Western State of Gujarat) will be held at the Gulf Hotel's Awal Ballroom, with live music provided by local musicians.

Daandiya Raas is a community event where scores of people dance together with decorated sticks while wearing colourful ethnic costumes.

More than 700 people are expected to attend the event. ILA will soon announce ticket rates soon. Sneha Recreation Centre for special children was established by the ILA in December 1987, with a specific agenda of providing parents of the special-need children some relief and support services, and also to make available to the children, a congenial, recreational and educational environment.

"The initial idea of providing an informal play group soon had to be modified to cater to the learning needs of the children. Functional numerical skills and literacy, life skills, basic cooking, art and craft soon became permanent features of the curriculum," she said.

The centre is open to children of all nationalities who suffer from moderate to mild intellectual impairments.

"We have the permission to accept only 20 children and presently we have a few vacancies," she added.

Working at their pace, these children, with the assistance of two trained teachers and volunteers, try their hands at various art and craft activities. Twenty dedicated volunteers under the guidance of the teachers help the children acquire basic self-help skills, with an individual attention to each child. While some are happy to indulge in free style painting, others show a keen interest in creating giftware and greeting cards. The Sneha greeting cards project has been a huge success since its launch nearly four years ago.

"These cards featuring selected artistic designs are sold to supportive commercial organisations in Bahrain over the festive season. Apart from the greeting cards, the children also paint colourful 'Diwali Diyas' (Diwali Lamps), and this year we aim to decorate and sell the 'Dandiya sticks' as well, she added.

As part of the activity, the Sneha children are regularly taken on educational visits and fun-outings around Bahrain to provide them exposure to the real life situations they would need to deal with in their later years. Sneha children have commendably participated in many sports events organised locally. For more information on Sneha Centre and the fund-raining programmes, please contact: Vani Krishnan on 3987 3357 or Sneha coordinator, Ms Kamath on 3924 0695.
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