While the Goa ForGiving team was on the 'Konkani Rocks Europe' Tour in 2011, the team took a ride in the beautiful canals of Amersfoort. What they noticed was the stark similarity in the waters in Amersfoort and Campal. More so, coincidently, the famous Armando Museum in Amersfoort is right on the Amersfoort Canal as Armando Gonsalves' Gonsalves Mansion is right on the Campal Creek. It brought a sense of Deja Vu which led to the inspiration of revitalising the Campal Creek.
Armando's son, Nihal Gonsalves went into the creek for the first time to get first hand photographs of the Creek. It was on seeing the photographs that the team decided to take the project as we realised that the Creek was very beautiful!
The Corporation of the City of Panjim okayed a survey that will bring together all the information of the creek, and this was a must before any further work could be carried out in this regard. The CCP Commissioner Mr Sanjit Rodrigues visited our area numerous times in order to get first hand information of what is on ground, what people think, and what can be done to bring all this to international levels.
The Campal Creek Revival project started off with a huge bang. We have had several meetings with prominent citizens like the CCP Commissioner Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues, Noted Architect Mr. Manguesh Prabhugaonker, Film Maker Nalini D’Souza, Valmiki Naik, Campal Residents Deric Rebelo, Ricardo Rebelo and many many others.
The media was so excited, that the story of the Creek was taken out to the public at large. Two media conferences, one at Hotel Marriott and the other at Hotel Campal made this possible.
On Mother’s Day, the 13th of May, we decided to get into the creek and have kayaks and dinghies in them. CCP Commissioner Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues decided to pilot one such kayak, and there were many other citizens of Panjim and elsewhere including our Chairman Mr. Armando Gonsalves and others, who participated in the proceedings. Our endeavour was to make people realize that the Campal Creek is a creek, and not a nullah, and that it is well on the way of getting back to its pristine best. Once the people understand that there is a paradigm shift in the thinking process of Civil Society and the Government of Goa, besides the all-important Corporation of the City of Panjim, the rest is that much an easier ride to success. And the idea of having this on Mother’s Day was apt, since it was decided that we as a responsible organization, will dedicate this to Mother Earth.
On the 5th of April we had our first cleanup drive along with the slum kids, Drishti lifeguards and the CCP. The kids were a sport and helped in the cleaning process with no complaints. As much as we had fun during the cleaning process we were delighted to see some improvement in the Creek at the end of the cleanup. It brought us great happiness at the success of our first step in reviving the Creek to its beauty.
We celebrated Mother’s Day at the Children’s park which is the start of the Creek. We had many exciting activities taking place simultaneously. We had Zumba sessions wherein everyone came together and shook a leg. Activist Artist Loretti Pinto conducted a painting workshop for kids. Bookworm organized a story telling session besides an Art and Craft time, and also had on display books by famous authors. Since it was Mother’s Day, we dedicated this day to Mother Nature and took the opportunity of unveiling the conceptual sketch of “UZO”. The Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar made the honours of unveiling the sketch. He also took a boat ride into the Creek, accompanied by Armando Gonsalves. BIG 92.7 FM were our partners, and they had a live coverage of the whole programme. Everyone present, especially the kids, had a lot of fun.
In 2014 our interns organised a Marthon cum Awareness run in aid of the Campal Creek. The went around distributing pamphlets which had details about the problems witht te creek. We always seek the help of the community as we live in one, and working together is the only way forward.
In celebration of the success of the community’s effort in getting the Campal Creek beautification fully on track, which can also be seen by the fact that the CCP has been sanctioned funds by the JNNURM, we at Goa ForGiving organized our annual Mother’s Day programme on the 11th of May 2014 by the Campal Creek. We had boat rides, a photo walk with noted photographer Prasad Pankar, painting competition with the Hamara School kids, music by Varun Carvalho besides Worship music via the well known Worship band “Yeshua”, who came down all the way from Mumbai to be with us on that day.
In 2014 the Times of India publication along with Goa ForGiving came out with a campaign for the Campal Creek for 15 days during the monsoon assembly session. All issues with regards to the Campal Creek were taken up including opinions from general public were up on the campaign. The questions were specifically to the Chief Minsiter of Goa, Manohar Parrikar about whta he ad in mind for the Campal Creek.
Soon after Times of India was done with their campaign, and there being no response whatsoever from Mr. Parrikar nor the opposition leaders, we at Goa ForGiving came up with the 'I Can' campaign, wherein children and the general public made a point that People Power can do wonders. The I Can campaign was to show that people power can do wonders.
The main defect in the Campal Creek lies in the bridge on the D.B. Marg. The bridge has been faultily designed, due to which the flushing of water doesn't take place, thus affecting the natural cleaning of the waterbody. A new bridge has to come up and 50% of the creek issues will be solved. We requested artist Vijay Bhandare to give us a conceptual sketch for the bridge so we can put it across to the officials for their perusal. Mr. Bhandare came up with an amazing sketch which will also look beautiful once it is executed.
With the Writers & Readers Festival taking place for the first time in Goa, we at Goa ForGiving were very delighted to be a part of this Festival as the 'Beneficiary Organisation'. Having been closely working with the kids from the St. Inez settlement, this festival gave us an opportunity to take some of the renowned authors like Kirsty Murray, Stephen McCarty, Ken Harper and Journalist Rahul Jayram to the St Inez Settlement to impart to them the importance of reading. Besides taking these writers to the settlement, we also had the privilege to mingle with Thomas Kennelly, author of Schindler’s Ark, on which the epic historical movie, Schindler’s List was based. It was an honour to have him over at our home and discuss about his next book. We also had an early 79th birthday celebration for him, when he cut 8 cakes, egging him to be in Goa for his 80th birthday next year. Partnering with the Writers & Readers Festival Goa was a great experience for us at Goa ForGiving, as we have carried a lot of memories back with us, and we look forward to the next.
Noted photographer, Prasad Pankar and his photography students gathered early in the morning at the Gonsalves Mansion for a photo walk along the Campal Creek. It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm amongst the youth as well as the others who joined in. They went around clicking the Creek and its beautiful bridges.
We are happy that we have been able to reach out to a large section of people and it is great to see more and more people and groups coming forward and getting involved with it. Recently we had a bird walk along with Goa Birders along the Campal Creek. To our surprise, we recorded a count of 39 bird species in an hour. This goes to say that the Creek also plays an important role as a natural habitat to some of the bird species.
On 15th August, 2014 Independence Day, Goa ForGiving along with The NIMR (National Institute
for Malaria Research and VHSG (Voluntary Health Service Goa) organised an Environmental
Health Workshop at the St. Inez Settlement. Our three organizations shared information
with these “privileged” people, and the effort also included a skit that showcased the
mosquito breeding problem in that region, besides also enthusing the participants in
introducing “guppy” fish into the Creek so that mosquito breeding is contained by this
species known for its penchant foreating up mosquito larvae.
A tree planting exercise was also undertaken by our group, and this particular effort was led by enthusiastic youngsters led by the cherubic Ms Riya Shetty. The children of the St Inez Settlement also got involved, and adopted a few trees that were planted in their surroundings, and pledged to look after them in the best way they can.
We also endeavoured to speak to the authorities regarding toilet facilities to be extended to the shanties since it was noticed that sewage pipelines have already been laid out there many years ago, which sadly, neither have been connected nor toilets provided, much to the chagrin of these settlers.
There is a Revolution taking place in the hearts and minds of the people of Goa, and this is about participating in the saving of the Environment which has taken a severe beating due to callous attitudes of us all. It is apt that this whole process got a huge boost on Independence Day, something which made one participant comment that this is true independence, that of being free from the hitherto squalid waters of various water bodies across our beautiful land. Water is our most vital resource, and what better way to celebrate Independence Day than the commitment of a band of energetic youngsters who are heaven bent in participating in something that will benefit not only them, but the community at large?
The National Institute of Malaria Research & Goa Medical College and Hospital organsied a seminar on “Reverse the Challenge: Vector Borne, Emerging Infectious and Non Communicable Diseases” from the 10th - 12th October, 2014, Goa. Our Founder Chairman, Mr. Armando Gonsalves was the Chief Guest at the event and was honoured for his immense contribution in the field of 'Environment'. The kids from the St. Inez Settlement and Hamara School were awarded prizes for a drawing conpeition whch was organsied by Goa ForGiving on the topic 'Your Vision for the Campal Creek'.
Celebrating Mother’s, celebrating the Waters of Goa 2015, we made our Mother’s Day bigger and better than the years gone by, by moving into the River Mandovi with the idea of expanding the cause to Saving the Waters of Goa. We had a grand celebration at Divar Island. A flotilla of boats moved from the Campal Creek near Inox, right up to the Divar Island on the morning of the 10th of May 2015.
#CampalCreekSelfie was a six week long fun, yet an awareness drive to bring to the fore the sorry state of our waterways in Goa. Participants were asked to click a selfie with any water body in their vicinity and share by using the hashtag #CampalCreekSelfie on their social media sites. People from outside Goa were also asked to send in their pictures with any water body in their country to show solidarity with the waters of Goa. The response was truly overwhelming.
The Water Hunt was a Treasure Hunt to create an awareness in an innovative way of the deterioration conditions of water resources of Goa and our rich inland water ways which are our lifelines. These water bodies like springs, ponds, lakes and waterfalls are facing the wrath of continuous development and need to be protected and conserved. Goa ForGiving in collaboration with the Travel & Tourism Department of Don Bosco College, Panjim, and The Goa Police organized the Water Hunt on the 27th of September 2015, World Tourism Day, as part of the closure of our 6 week long #CampalCreekSelfie campaign. We had 16 participating teams, the event spanning across seven Talukas and covering close to 85 kms in North Goa. The participants were given clues to waterways across North Goa, which they had to find and click a selfie with the answer.
It is amazing that many Goans don’t even know that River Mandovi is actually River Mhadei, and we hope that our campaign will enthused Goans to do their bit to bring this issue to the focus. It was wonderful to have the support of Former Regatta Sailing Champion Mark Butt. His energy translated into a flotilla of kayaks and catamarans at the River Mandovi, making it the cynosure of all eyes on a warm working day. The boats sailed from Candolim on 22nd April morning, and landed up at the area near Inox. Whether it is the Campal Creek, or the Colva Creek, or the River Sal or any other waterway across Goa, they all are in need of serious rehabilitation if we are to ensure that our water resources are not squandered as they have been in other parts of the country.
On the occasion of Goa Revolution Day 2017 we organized a series of events, and one was the Water Revolution. Volunteers like Vishal Rawlley, Sudeep Dalvi, Gabriella D’Cruz participated with their Tin Boat, Bismarque The Unsinkable and an inflatable dinghy respectively. We met at the Rua de Ourem Creek. Activist Sudeep Dalvi came with his ‘Bismarque: The Unsinkable’ Boat right from Divar. Several other activists, musicians, students and others joined in to celebrate the Water Revolution.
Vishal Rawlley, a digital designer from Delhi, now based in Goa is working at the grassroot level to enthuse kids along the Campal Creek by creating exciting activities for them. He recently built a boat made of tin, which is possibly the lightest boat, and he uses it to cleanup the creek. The boat is called "The Red Boat".