January 31, 2015

Solar Panels and Sketch Pens. #SocialworkSaturday

We weren't ready!! Candid group photo of some participants 
        After a close to a month long hiatus from blogging and with people asking me what I was going to write next I decided it was finally time to sit down and write a post. Sorry guys! Anyway, lets get down to it. 

        If you were to ask a bunch of 6 year old kids to draw something with the theme of climate change or saving fossil fuel you'd probably think, 'What? No! They're kids! What would they know about subjects like sustainability?" Be ready to be amazed. If you were to ask a bunch of corporation school children to draw something about saving fossil fuel I bet most of us would have thought it plain impossible. Wrong again. But so did I and just a while ago all of that changed. 
        I was invited to be one of the guests at the award ceremony of a drawing competition in a local primary school. The competition was organised and sponsored by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL). There were six participating schools of which four were government schools and two were private schools, all from the neighborhood. The kids aged 6 to 15 were asked to draw what they felt must be done to save fossil fuel and battle climate change. I have to admit how very skeptical I was. I thought to myself, as I watched them seriously sharpening their pencils and drawing neat borders on the drawing paper, "What could these kids possibly know about things like renewable energy and ecological footprints? Even if they did know, how are they going to manage to draw such a complex idea?" I sat with the other guests who were discussing their retirement plans and rheumatism. I was the only guest there in my twenties. To entertain myself I tip-toed looking around enthusiastically to spot that Da Vinci and that Picasso in a crowd of 70 odd kids packed into the classroom. One and half hours later I was left dumbfounded at the lovely yet intelligent drawings that had taken shape. 
        The kids had drawn wind mills even more realistic than the ones in an NCERT text book, futuristic cars with solar paneled bonnets and solar powered stoves. Some had even done very carefully composed, brightly colored miniature or mural style artwork which left the judges with just too many really good entries to choose the winners from. It was obvious that a lot of preparation had gone into each entry, every drawing had a concept and had been evidently discussed with an adult.  
        End of the day, I was not only left pondering about the latent potential and the depth of understanding of environmental issues that kids even in government run schools had. Looks like environment friendly and sustainable urban environments are the need of the hour. Even the next generation is aware and they're watching. Every kid that took part was a winner and had learnt an important lesson from something as simple as a drawing competition.
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Who's got that killer swag? Selfie with the kids from the Primary School