Saturday, 25 August 2012

School children work on designs for change

Agra: One idea, one week, one billion lives to change: The annual Design For Change (DFC) challenge for schoolchildren has begun across India.

This year, the DFC contest has spread to 34 countries. It will encompass 300,000 schools and will touch 25 million children with the "I Can" theme, fuelled by passion, belief and a compelling sense of purpose. 

"Design for Change is the largest global movement aimed at giving children an opportunity to express their own ideas for a better world and put them into action," said the movement's founder, Ahmedabad-based Kiran Sethi.

"Children and adults learn through the Design for Change challenge that 'I Can' are the two most powerful words a person can believe. Children who have discovered this are changing their world. This year, Design for Change reaches 34 countries and over 300,000 schools, inspiring hundreds of thousands of children, their teachers and parents, to celebrate the fact that change is possible and that they can lead that change!

"The challenge asks students to do four very simple things: Feel, Imagine, Do and Share. Children are dreaming up and leading brilliant ideas all over the world, from challenging age-old superstitions in rural communities, to earning their own money to finance school computers, to solving the problem of heavy school bags - children are proving that they have what it takes to be able to 'design' a future that is desired," Sethi added.

Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, which is DFC's western Uttar Pradesh partner, had last week released a kit being sent to schools, which have to register by August 15. Sharma said last year more than 15 schools from the region participated but "this year we plan to involve more than 50 in the competition which is unique, socially relevant and exciting for the school children."

Normally schools start organising activities during the Joy of Giving weekend -September. The final submission of reports will be by October 8 and the winners will be announced on November 14, Children's Day.

In addition to 100 prizes, Disney will sponsor 20 top stories, while Amar Chitra Katha will give gift hampers to the top 100 winners. CNN-IBN will showcase six DFC stories from previous years for their groundbreaking ideas in a special episode to be aired on Children's Day.

Last year, students of Chennai's HLC International School worked on a project to recycle waste. In the process, they realised that one man's waste could be another's treasure. Starting with a waste collection drive, they made decorative articles from plastic bottles and paper bags from old newspapers which were then donated to an orphanage.

In Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, students developed a herbal garden to sensitise more than 2,000 people in their community to the harmful effects of some allopathic medicines.

Schoolchildren in Dehradun set out to find a design for a burner that would work on only twigs and dry leaves and in turn reduce massive consumption of wood during cooking.

Hundreds of other schools all over India put forth various ideas that would help bring about transformation of their communities in a meaningful manner and in the processhelp children to feel, imagine, do and share. IANS