The Design for Change Contest asks children to design solutions for problems that they encounter in their lives, schools, neighborhoods or communities.We bring to you inspiring stories of children doing amazing things through DFC. This time we write about children from Satya Bharti School (Rural school) Jodhpur, Rajasthan and Bright Day School, Vadodara, Gujarat
Satya Bharti School (Rural school) Jodhpur, Rajasthan : Children take on Quacks
For centuries, villagers in India have trusted traditional medical practitioners called Bhopajis to cure them of ills. Unfortunately, many of these practitioners having no knowledge of traditional or modern treatments are making a living by duping innocent villagers.
Children of this rural school bravely conducted street plays to spread the awareness about these fake practitioners. "In remote villages, people go to the Bhopajis for everything from small domestic problems to serious health issues like snake or scorpion bites, and other major health problems. The Bhopajis demand a lot in cash and kind for their services. In many cases, even lives are lost," reported the students.To spread awareness about unscrupulous Bhopajis, the children designed a unique solution: they spread awareness by organizing a rally in the village and a procession at the local bhopaji’s thhan (the place where he works from), that enabled the community to understand how the fraudster was duping them. The students also performed a street play to give the scientific explanations that bhopajis passed off as 'miracles', such as lighting fire in water, lighting lamps without fire, and making stones "swim" in water.
Finally, the students also organized a unique “take an oath-sign a pledge” signature campaign that empowered villagers to resist such bogus Bhopajis. Fifty eight families spontaneously volunteered to fill in oath forms children had created, to pledge to re-examine their superstitious beliefs.
"We had never thought that small kids could do so much for the community," wrote one surprised community leader."Now, we expect a lot from them."
Bright Day School, Vadodara, Gujarat : Honouring the Elderly
‘Caring for elderly people’ was the challenge children wanted to address. To design a solution, they adopted a unique approach: instead of visiting old age homes, they visited individual houses and spent time with the elderly in each house. They found that the main problems that senior citizens faced were those of loneliness, lack of appreciation, and physical constraints.Realizing the need for the elderly to feel valued and respected, the students decided to conduct a talent show for them. When the venue threatened to become a problem, because the local priest barred them from using the temple-compound, they ingeniously resolved it by gathering under a Neem tree! An eighty year old performed the Sirshaasana (yogic pose of standing on one’s head). The children discovered that, eighteen or eighty, everyone needs an outlet to show their talent, competence and feelings.
This event showed the children’s originality of thought and willingness to go beyond the contest entry norms.