The centennial of the Dempo patriarch, the late Vasantrao S. Dempo, which fell on the 4th March, 2016, was marked by the Dempo family and Dempo Management with the launch of a number of social responsibility programmes. Intended as a tribute to the group founder, the celebrations were centred upon the new campus of the Vasantrao Dempo Higher Secondary School of Science, Commerce & Arts at the new Integrated Education Complex at Cujira, Santa Cruz, Goa. The event was marked by the presence of a glittering array of dignitaries from government and civil society including Dempo family members and school teachers and students. Presiding over the function was Shrinivas V Dempo, chairman of the group of Dempo entities, with fellow members of the Dempo Charities Trust, Executive Director, Pallavi S. Dempo and Whole Time Director Yatish S.Dempo in prominent attendance. Chief guest at the function was Union Minister of Defence, Manohar Parrikar, while the guests of honour were Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Deputy Chief Minister Francisco D’Souza, each of whom addressed the gathering memorably. Among the many special invitees was South Goa MP, Narendra Sawaikar, and the Chief Post Master (Maharashtra Circle), Mr. A. K. Dash.
The proceedings began with a colourful, rousing, choreographed Ganesh Vandana performed with verve and reverence by the students of the higher secondary school.
Among the happenings on the occasion was the release by the Department of Posts, Government of India of a commemorative postage stamp featuring the founder, carried by us elsewhere on this site (please see http://www.dempos.com/birth-centenary-commemorative-postage-stamp-group-founder/)
The highlight of the day was the dedicating to the Public of the new state-of-the-art premises of the consolidated and re-named multi-faculty Institution under the administration of Dempo Charities Trust, namely Vasantrao Dempo Higher Secondary School of Science, Commerce & Arts.
To this end the Chief Guest, accompanied by the Guests of Honour, unveiled the plaque commemorating the occasion besides lighting a lamp in reverence to Devi Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom and Learning, and garlanding the portrait of the late Vasantrao.
Other spaces in the school were also declared by the Main Guests as dedicated to the public, including the Madhav Gopal Poy Raiturcar Memorial Audio Visual Room, and the laboratory, classroom etc.
Chairman Shrinivas V Dempo announced the Dempo Charities Trust’s Initiative to enhance the purse and the number of Pre-University, University, and Professional Scholarships from Rupees 1.50 Lakhs to Rupees 3.00 Lakhs to be made available to students hailing from Santa Cruz, the ancestral seat of the Dempo family. Trust Administrator Sunil Prabhudesai announced the names of the beneficiary scholars, who received their scholarships from the main guests.
A major announcement was made by Chairman Dempo in the matter of a private- public pilot programme of collaboration between the Vasantrao Dempo Education & Research Foundation and the Government of Goa to refurbish, develop and run rural schools in the Goan hinterland under the Quality Support Programme of the Bharti Foundation exemplified by the Satya Bharti Model of Holistic Quality Education of school children, especially girls. The Bharti Foundation is the social responsibility wing of the renowned Bharti Enterprises.
Also announced was the Vasantrao Dempo Education & Research Foundation’s Initiative to enhance the centenary purse towards the funding of the Dempo Research Fellowships for scholarly work in Goa-Centric Studies. While the purse used to be Rupees One Lakh each year, the purse in just this special year would rise to Rupees Five Lakhs in tribute to the memory of the Dempo pioneer whose name is given to the Foundation, while reverting to the usual purse next year.
The relationship between communities in Santa Cruz and the Dempos has been an enduring one, marked by mutual trust and closeness. The link with the Church of the Holy Cross, the parish church of Calapur, and above it, the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, are an illustration of this bond. The Dempo Charities Trust on a recent occasion offered assistance to the multi-faculty Santa Cruz Higher Secondary School in improving its infrastructure with respect to a laboratory at its premises. But bearing in mind that this was the centennial year, the Dempo Charities Trust announced the sanction to the sponsorship of the construction of a classroom at the school premises with assistance of a sum of Rupees Three Lakhs, with the undertaking handed over to the parish priest of Santa Cruz, Father Alexander Pereira.
The programme closed with a moving video tribute to the Founder and his educational institution- building endeavours scripted by higher secondary school principal Ms. Rupa S. Prabhu Khope.
Overall a special dedication to the social responsibility ideals of a special man!