In Gandhi Village, Debe, formerly known as Cooliewood, stands a testament to history and culture – the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Founded by Bobby Seenath, the Mahatma Gandhi Charitable Organisation has been an integral part of this community, contributing to its vibrancy and cultural richness, as well as hosting an annual youth festival.
The organisation will host its 17th Annual Youth Talent competition on November 19, at the Gandhi statue site. The competition will feature 16 performances in dance and song categories, with music by Capil Gayadeen and the T&TEC Gayatones.
Seenath, whose idea it was to construct the Gandhi statue, which was unveiled in 2003, said, “The statue is a symbol of freedom and peace.”
After that accomplishment, he decided to hold a youth competition to inspire his community.
“I started thinking of doing something more in which my community and at large my homeland, specially the youth, can benefit. That’s when I got the idea of having a national competition in which the young children can showcase their talent and benefit, and so the Mahatma Gandhi Charitable Organisation was born."
The competition has evolved significantly since it began in 2005. What began as an 18-and-under event now includes participants up to 25, with categories for dance and singing/musical performances.
Seenath highlighted the production of a TV series, Choti Sargam, in 2012, reflecting the organisation's commitment to showcasing and nurturing young talent. Looking ahead, he envisions reintroducing a TV youth talent series.
The focus on youth talent aligns with the organisation's broader goals of promoting peace, love, and togetherness, inspired by Gandhi’s vision.
“Personally, I believe that our children are the future, and since they are the most vulnerable in our society, then it’s the duty of us as responsible grown-ups to try to help and guide them along.”
He said the competition attracted children of all races and religions.
While funding is one of the challenges, he pointed out that through the dedication of people like Capil Gayadeen, Clifford Rambharose and others, the organisation has overcome obstacles and continued to thrive.
Reflecting on the positive impact of past competitions he said some participants have gone on to excel in singing, music and dancing, and have entered and won competitions such asMastana Bahar.
The event starts at 6 pm.
Sathyam Avinash Sankaran
Nritya Priya Dance Academy
Vasha Jagroop and Simran Sookdeo
The Dream Girl Dance Group
Amber De Silva
Amritam Shakti Dance Company
Songs and music
Esha Shanta Heralal
Victoria Amrita Maharaj
Brandon Akash Maraj