Children take proactive steps to solve problems

With 124 entries from Bengaluru alone, the first ever Design for Giving contest had children from schools across the country designing solutions for India's greatest challenges.

Children of Government Kannada Lower Primary School, Kattigenahalli (Yelahanka Post) decided they had had enough. Potable drinking water at school had been a problem for them for a long time now. They approached their neighbours – Astra Zeneca. In a couple of days, they had a water filter donated and installed.

On the other side of town, children from RV Public School, VV Puram Bangalore were bothered by the chronic shortage of blood for emergency procedures. They launched a door-to-door awareness campaign to explore popular myths, and misconceptions about blood donation. The children persevered even when professionals and educated citizens dodged their queries. The result – a successful campaign with 55 residents registering and donating blood in just a week.

RV Public School, Bangalore is part of the top 20 entries in the contest. For the complete list of winners, see here.

This is just a sampling of the 124 entries from Bangalore at the Design for Giving (DFG) contest held this year, that covered a wide spectrum ranging from issues faced by the school such as water scarcity, garbage disposal to those affecting the environment such as the use of plastic bags; children also went on to facilitate literacy classes for other children from nearby low-income areas and some children undertook simple and thoughtful gestures such as visiting and spending quality time with senior citizens at a home.

RV Public school students

Class 8-9 students from RV Public School who initiated the blood donation drive. Pic courtesy: Design for Giving Contest organisers.

The Design for Giving contest is an initiative of the Riverside School, a private school in Ahmedabad  also works closely with children in low-income areas. It’s founder Kiran Sethi initiated the idea of this contest, when she heard of Joy of Giving Week. She felt it was important to involve children as they can be very proactive change agents. Other organisations and companies like IDEA, Disney, Gray Matters Capital, Design School, Stanford also joined hands in this initiative.

The contest was planned to coincide with the Joy of Giving week (from September 27th to October 3rd). The sole purpose  was to invite children to design solutions for India’s greatest challenges.  The contest was about making children believe that change is possible and that they can be the change. And the children have managed to make a difference in just a few days.  

Over 1350 schools across India, including government, aided and private schools submitted their entries. Entries were invited in various languages too ensuring that language did not become a barrier to participation. An entry from a school for children with disabilities also demonstrated that there are truly no limits when you decide to change things.

A well-designed toolkit (developed by the organisers) with simple instructions was shared with all the participant schools and provided a simple brief to the children; which was – to follow a 4 step process
    FEEL – where children and their mentor/teacher identify a problem that troubles them the most
    IMAGINE – generate ideas for addressing the problem
    DO – identify and implement one of their ideas during the selected week
    SHARE- send in their submission form (in a self-addressed enveloped given as part of the toolkit!). Here, they could include photographs, presentations, and videos as additional documentation for their entry.

Though the contest was initially meant for 10-13 year old children, it was amazing to see powerful entries from 8-9 year olds too! Clearly, the contest was not about ranking schools 1st , 2nd , 3rd etc. Instead, the process reviewed the entries through entirely different lenses – for instance, identifying entries that were the boldest, most easily replicable, most environmentally friendly, had the quickest impact, impacted most people and those that lived up to Gandhiji’s values of self-reliance, humility, and serving the underprivileged.

The entries embodied these values. Eighth standard students of Delhi Public School (Bangalore South) decided "to give back smiles to senior citizens living in an old age home". They have interacted with the senior citizens with sensitivity and maturity. The happiness and joy that the elders feel is evident from their smiles and the anecdotes they share. India International School (Bangalore) students decided to teach children of construction workers.

The prize distribution ceremony will be held at Ahmedabad on November 27th. And next year, perhaps you could help a school from your area to participate in this exciting and inspiring initiative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Bardhaman town’s tourism potential: Why it must be developed

West Bengal's Bardhaman town has immense tourism potential. Its development must prioritise sustainable tourism and civic development.

Bardhaman town, renowned for its Bengali sweets like mihidana and sitabhog, is also famous for its rich tapestry of folk culture and heritage sites. The town has immense potential for tourism. But the question arises, how much of it has been explored?   This article aims to shed light on Bardhaman's historical sites, the initiatives to promote tourism while addressing the civic issues hindering its progress, and highlight the need to balance tourism with sustainable development.  Heritage sites of Bardhaman Sher Afghan’s tomb  Located beside Pir Beharam, close to Rajbati, lies the  tomb of Sher Afghan, the resting place of the last…

Similar Story

Nam Kudiyiruppu Nam Poruppu: Is the scheme doing more harm than good in Chennai?

RWA members within the community, chosen to implement the scheme in resettlement sites in Chennai, feel alienated from other residents.

In December 2021, the Tamil Nadu government introduced the Nam Kudiyiruppu Nam Poruppu scheme for residents living in low-income, government housing and resettlement sites managed by the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB). In this scheme, residents form associations to oversee the maintenance of these sites, with the intention of transferring ownership of their living spaces back to them. This move is significant, especially for the resettlement sites, considering the minimal consultation and abrupt evictions relocated families have faced during the process. What the scheme entails The scheme also aims to improve the quality of living in these sites.…