The Weekend Leader - Child power

‘Yes, I can’ spirit dominates children’s gathering in Chennai

Maria Devasia   |   Chennai


Vol 2 | Issue 39

It was Gandhi Jayanthi as the world knew it, but groups of young children were instead celebrating ‘Be the Change Day.’ The afternoon at Odyssey bookstore, Adyar, Chennai, kick-started at around 3 pm when the host for the event welcomed the kids, teachers and volunteers present at the event and explained everything about the Design for Change (DFC) initiative and its implementation in Chennai.

This was followed by a video by social activist and actor Rahul Bose, who spoke about the benefits of DFC for society.

Positive mood: Children were encouraged to bring about the change they wanted to see.
( Photos: Ramakrishnan K S)

The host then explained to the kids the power and the significance of the term ’I CAN’ – by giving a few simple examples to the kids and bringing out the ‘YES, I CAN’ spirit in them.

What followed next was one of the most beautiful moments of the entire event, when two young girls from Pudiyador, Ramavaram (a Bhumi learning centre) made a small presentation about the change they had identified and implemented, which is, the use of paper bags over plastic bags.

Through the presentation they highlighted to the other kids the ill effects of plastic and the harm it causes to our planet. They also explained that finding a deer feeding on plastic waste compelled them to ACT.

Their solution? They designed their own paper bags and raised awareness amongst their friends and family to use the same. Ratna, one of the girls, also expressed her desire to take this initiative to the next level by giving biotec bags to shops in their area.

Two boys from Sevalaya, Thirunindravur, expressed their views about the need to encourage organic farming and create awareness among farmers and their families to adopt such methods of farming.

The boys from YMCA, Park Town (Bhumi centre) explained to the audience how most children in their school have slippers but leave it at home, refusing to wear them, because they are worried it would get spoiled. The children raised awareness on how it is important to wear slippers by composing songs and presenting a skit.

After the children were done explaining their plans to fight the challenges, stories of change from last year were shown – from countries like Pakistan and Bhutan.

Next, a teacher from B.T Government School explained their DFC story – raising awareness on hygiene and basic grooming. She also particularly mentioned how it was effective when students try to convince each other to bring about some change rather than teachers imposing it on them.

You can: Bhumi’s co-founder Dr. Prahalathan released a book, I Can, at the event

 Three boys from Nightingale Educational Social Trust, Thirumulaivoyil, (Bhumi Centre) expressed the need to have a youth parliament with the ministries headed by children to address small problems in their immediate neighbourhood.

A few kids from Bala Mandir(Bhumi centre) expressed concern about the increasing use of tobacco related products among kids. They presented a skit that depicted the harmful effects of smoking, which they plan to perform before the public.

The most awaited part of the evening was launch of ‘I CAN’ – a book by Amar Chitra Katha covering 20 stories of change from last year. Dr. Pralahathan, co-founder of Bhumi officially launched the book and read out a few lines from a story based on Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies.

Finally, a quick summary of Design for Change marked the end of the event.

Every story, every child and every minute of the event made those present realise that these little people who are going to lead the world tomorrow are definitely on the right track.

The event was organised for Design for Change by Bhumi and Make A Difference volunteers.

Bhumi’s volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Chennai, Thiruvallur, Trichy, Bengaluru and Chandigarh with the aim of providing children with quality education.

The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 500 students and young professionals under the age of 30 benefit over 5,500 children every year.

The writer is a volunteer with Bhumi

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