In the months of September and October, children and volunteers of Make A Difference, across India, participated in the global phenomenon that is Design For Change. DFC is a platform which encourages children to identify, find solutions and implement solutions to fix their own environments, thereby changing their own worlds.
Ever thought that a child cannot do something this momentous? Well, then you’re about to be proved wrong! Thousands upon thousands of children across the world (33 countries, this year) have participated in Design for Change, and by being the extraordinary talents they are, they’ve changed the world we live in, some way or the other!
At MAD, we were excited by the possibilities. So were our volunteers, and so were our children. A bevy of projects were implemented up and down the country. We were awed, inspired, shocked at times by how aware our kids were about the issues surrounding them!
The children took to it so fast that some of us had trouble keeping up. (One particular group came up with 80 ideas for DFC!) In fact, there were so many that we decided to organise a small internal competition to celebrate the best of the best of the best!
Over the course of this week and the next, we’ll be bringing to you the stories of those who stood out from amongst the rest. These are MAD’s superheroes. The volunteers and children who inspire us day in, day out!
This is the story of the children from Bangalore who decided they just HAD to clean up their neighbourhood!
By Monisha Sharma
In life, it is important to not necessarily be strong, but to feel strong. To embark on a noble quest that may have the significance of a drop in the ocean, but nonetheless a test of one’s own competence.
The ‘Children’s Movement for People’s Awareness’ didn’t stop at just making themselves feel strong, but also infected everyone they met with an urgency for change. A group of nine ambitious boys from the St.Mary’s orphanage, Bangalore noticing the unhygienic conditions and lack of awareness in the EWS colony, formed a theatre group and set up a street play exhibiting the need for hygiene and education.
They call themselves the Children’s Movement for People’s Awareness and are our very own new age super-heroes! And they don’t believe in masks, capes or fake identities. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting to you, our very own Justice League- Anand, Daniel, Justin, Lawrence, Mathew, Punith, Sudesh,Vincent; and their faithful mentors- Ram Pradeep Abbireddy, Rony and Varun!
“Learn from your elders” – an age old adage; these children however, chose NOT to overlook the unhygienic conditions and went door to door asking everyone to do the same. Their impatience- a virtue, for they didn’t wait for anyone to clean up the mess; they didn’t give up when authorities who’d promised to help, failed to deliver; they didn’t stop until their voice was heard!
They acted and got to work, convincing everyone in the vicinity about the importance of education and the necessity for the same.
“Learn from us” – their actions said, and people did. They were joined by all those they spoke to, curious by-standers and the recently-enlightened residents, who finally understood the need to keep their environment clean and the value of this ‘impatience’.
It took nine young men to make a difference in a small colony; their determination and will not only inspired members of the colony but also shamed the cynical few into thinking about the greater good of their community.
Perhaps the most heartening moment for the youngsters was the overwhelming response from young children, much like themselves, who also wanted to make a difference. So eager were they that they begged and pleaded with their parents to join the MAD family.
With their numbers swelling, these young boys learnt that a small act can go a long way in bringing about a change; a philosophy that is often overlooked by many.
If their goal was to demonstrate to the residents of EWS colony the importance of hygiene and education, then their mission was a success; if it was to bring about a lasting change in their minds and hearts, it was a resounding success.