Kendriya Vidyalaya, Vigyan Vihar, engages with the issue of Child Mortality

19th June 2010, Dilli Haat: The Yuva Ekta group celebrates 5 years of the Tehelka Foundation with its street play SAPNE AAM AADMI KE, the culmination of a month long workshop with a random mix of 45 young people students from privileged as well as disadvantaged backgrounds, ranging from 12 years to 18 years of age, who rapidly shed their inhibitions, hone in on the themes they want to work on and by the end of the workshop, come together as one seamless Whole!

This year we chose issues of Hunger, Hygiene and Infant Mortality, a part of Save the Children’s EVERY ONE campaign, so that in the coming months, the play can be used as an advocacy tool in different slums, community centres and schools.

SAPNE AAM AADMI KE is a sharp comment on the hypocrisy within our society, on issues of survival that the common man seems entrapped within, and the gender inequity that is still widely prevalent today. It seeks to inspire him soar beyond his daily bindings, release his fears and anxieties and direct his passion towards creating a New World, where Love and Respect is a given for every living being.

Having worked on this theme during the summer break, we intend to take forward these same messages to schools in Delhi during the new academic term.

Today, we engaged with the students of Class XI C and D from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Vigyan Vihar and left them with some important information on child mortality,  focusing on the proximity of such cases to their relatively sheltered lives.

Ms. Meenu Wadhwa, their co-curricular teacher,  believes that it is important to shift the students’ focus from “low waists and spikes” to  socially relevant issues that they can engage with. After screening short documentaries on the topic, the interaction that followed showed this shift of focus. The students came up with some great suggestions to tackle the issue of child mortality.

-         “We should make people aware of the common diseases and should tell them about the simple cures to them. We should put up boxes in shopping malls so that these rich people can donate some money and help the poor people.” – Ambuj Tripathi

-         “We should go to every house in the slums and tell them that a) they should keep their house clean, b) if their children fall sick they should immediately take them to the nearest government hospital,  c) if there are mosquitoes, etc in there area they should contact the MCD to get rid of them.” – Sidharth Sharma

-        ” If we contribute the amount of money we spend on unnecessary stuff  towards this cause, it’ll help someone to buy clothes, proper food, proper medical treatment and educate them.” – Neha

-         “If there’s a festival, instead of wasting money on gifts and dresses for ourselves, we should think about people in the slums and help them with things they really need.” – Sukhmeet Jaswal

-         “Doctors should treat poor people free of cost.” – Vaibhav

-       “We should cut down on our daily junk food and give that money to help feed poor children.” -Shashank

-         “Once a week, we should take hygienically cooked food and distribute it to deprived children.” – Monica

Outcomes:

The Foundation intends to take forward this interaction into a year long community project in which the students of KV Vigyan Vihar adopt a nearby slum and conduct a survey about the state of health and hygiene amongst the slum dwellers.

They  start an advocacy campaign focusing on the health of the children and women in the slum, and devise ways to improve their present conditions.

Some of the suggestions that came from the children this morning included contributing their pocket money towards buying hygienic food for the slum children, donating some of the money they spend on junk food, crackers etc. so that each family could be given packets of ORS to keep at home, in case of an emergency.

We are keen for the students to take ownership of the campaign they will be spearheading in the slum nearby. Their involvement in the community can only reap rich dividends for them, as they begin to realize that the rights and responsibilities of a citizen go hand in hand.

Today was an important beginning.

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