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 chidren who inspire us day in, day out!
They say the easiest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. What they failed to mention is that it’s also the shortest way to send them to a hospital. Do you know how many pathogens and virus camp happily on your innocent looking bhaji, just waiting for a chance to attack your poor immune system? Did you know that when oil is reused is releases cancer causing agents in the food?
Luckily the children of Seva Chakra were well aware of the dangers before them.
Seeing their classmates fall sick one after the other, the kids decides to take matters into their own hands. They FELT the pain of their fellow classmates and wanted a way of addressing it.
In short, they imagined.
They decided to attack the root cause of the problem. They decided to treat the cause and not the symptoms. They decided to create awareness among the kids. When grown-ups warned them against street food, it only made the forbidden fruit more tasty and lip smackingly delicious.
Come on, we have all gone through that phase of civil disobedience!
So the kids decided to share a play on the evils of eating street food. This was one skit for the kids, by the kids, of the kids.
When kids speak, kids listen.
The kids decided the story-line, they came up with costume. Dialogues were peppered with movie catch phrases! They rehearsed as of out was their school’s annual day.
Finally on that day in front of all kids they enacted it out on the big stage on the auditorium. The kids were so in character that when one of the kids cried out in pain from stomach ache on stage, one of the teachers darted forward.
The audience was shocked into believing. The kids finally understood the dangers of street food and how much they stood to lose from not heeding the warnings.
All the kids then solemnly promised not to touch street food. The kids had not designed for change. They had changed the design of the lives of their fellow students.