On 15th of August, 2009, Riverside School, Ahmedabad, promoted India's Largest Design for Giving(www.designforgivingcontest.com) contest for school children. Through a simple toolkit that was translated into 8 languages, we reached over 30,000 schools and around 100,000 children (rural, urban, private and public). The competition focused on 10 to 13 year olds with the sole purpose of changing the perception of children being 'helpless' to seeing children as 'drivers of change'.Stories of change poured in from all over India-from places as far off as Nagaland, from remote villages in the Rajasthan heartland, and from the mountains of Sikkim.
The contest had ignited something profound. From converting the waste dump outside their school into a garden, to stopping child marriages, to reaching out to the invisible members of our society- the elderly, mentally challenged, and disadvantaged, schoolchildren took action to change their world for the better.
The contest asked students to do three very simple things: Feel, Imagine, and Do.
What the contest made visible was that this framework inspired children across India to say "I Can!"
The contest culminated on Gandhji's birthday, October 2nd, and the final top 100 stories of change were announced on Children's Day, 14th November.
Partnering in this contest were the top design minds in the world - the National Institute of Design (India), d.school(Stanford), IDEO, dcontinuum and leading independent designers.
On 6th November, 2009, the story was presented by the founder, KiranBirSethi at TEDIndia ( www.ted.com) and the overwhelming response to the simplicity of the idea has meant that this year, the contest is going global ( www.designforchangecontest.com ) and top stories will be showcased at the UN.
The countries being infected throughDesign for Change contest 2010 are Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, Chile, USA, Japan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, UK, Australia, Finland, Tehran, Romania, New Zealand, Taiwan.....and growing. The passion and enthusiasm Design For Change Contest has been able to engender in people across the world is colossal. While stories of change have already started pouring in from Finalnd (http://bit.ly/cMhjj1) and Bhutan (http://bit.ly/cMPn2o), Mexico will launch the contest in August with almost ten thousand school, Mr. Charles Sandy, our partner from Japan, presented Design For Change Contest at TedxTokoyo (http://bit.ly/cvGdli) to spread the infection further. Recently Mr. C Neil Linton,our partner from New Zealand, climbed Mt.
Fuji exclusively to raise funds for Design For Change New Zealand and got twenty nine sponsors to sign up. Very soon we are going to have Design ForChange theme song titled ‘I Can’ sung Mr. Raffi, an international children's singer.In India the contest will kick off on 15 August, the Independence Day and we have already been able to sign on our principal sponsor and brand ambassador. We are gearing up to reach to more than 10,000 schools this year.
Besides this KiranBirSethi, our founder, is collaborating with d.school (Design school at Stanford University) and IDEO (leading design company) to design a Citizenship Curriculum around Design For Change Contest.
With Design For Change Contest 2010 looking bright and high we are going to bring a wave of change huge enough to infect minds across the world with the spirit of ‘I CAN’.