Our Work - Major Events
Lokotsav (Peopl's Festival)
Lokotsava was started in the 1980’s in memory of its beloved founder Fr. RamiroErviti S.J.. Fr. Erviti , who died in May 1986, had dedicated his life to the service of the poor. He was so deeply involved with the marginalized in the Ahmedabad slums that people in our working areas who came in contact with him still remember him as masiha or farishta (messenger of God). Hence, the organization started observing Lokotsava in tribute to Fr. Erviti. It is observed by the people of the slums where SXSSS is working. As the name suggests Lokotsava is a people’s festival. It is organized every year in the month of March around Fr. Erviti’s birth anniversary (March 11). The main components of Lokotsava are
- Bringing people to one stage: Lokotsava is a festival and it is not celebrated alone, it is a festival of closeness. It is a festival of life, bringing joy to the lives of the marginalized. Hence, the festival brings people from different areas together. Efforts are made so that they interact, know each other and celebrate their festival together. Sometimes it is organized at area level i.e., zone level. Or it is organized at city level when people from all our working areas gather at one place observe it together. In Indian culture, having food together is an inseparable part of a festival and so arrangements are made where people all can have food together and feel togetherness among themselves.
- Brining different cultures together: When we talk of the urban poor it is important to understand the concept of “community” in the context of urban slum dwellers. The urban poor do not form a “natural” community which draws its commonness by caste, creed, religion or region. Lokotsava brings people of different cultures together; each culture has its cultural programmes exhibiting its traditions. When people of different cultures come together their cultural programmes become an important component to make them feel closeness with each other.
- Giving voice to their problems: For the last few years the meaning of Lokotsava has broadened. It is now not merely a festival of fun and joy. It has become a festival of life. It addresses and gives voice to the problems and possible solutions of the urban poor. It provides a stage to urban poor where they can find new alternatives in their lives. For the last few years Lokotsava has addressed various issues concerning the urban poor: right to food, livelihood, health care, right to information, and so on…
- Different methodologies: When on the one side, cultural programmes have become an inseparable part of Lokotsava, different methodologies are used to make it a people’s festival in a real sense, whether it takes the form of a funfair with different information stalls, brings different government and non-government organizations on one platform to provide them space for collaboration concerning issues of the urban poor or a film show, role-plays or any other method.