Actor Vidya Balan has always wanted to do her bit for the world. Now, in association with Disney’s Friends For Change initiative, an innovative inter-school volunteering program, she is helping school students adopt and develop an urban green space in their neighbourhood.
What role do parks and gardens play in the life of children?
One of the joys of being a child is rolling in the grass and getting one’s hands dirty in the mud. Gardens and parks are the only places for children to experience nature.
Tell us about your association with Disney’s Friends For Change initiative.
I’ve always wanted to do my bit for the world we live in. Since children are stewards of change, I like Disney’s Friends For Change’s idea of inculcating in them a sense of responsibility towards the environment through a participative process, which is bound to be effective. It is also a great platform for fostering team work, collaboration and understanding amongst them.
What is the need of the hour with regards to the condition of parks and gardens in India?
I haven’t been to many well-maintained parks in India. Today more than ever we need to encourage parents to take their kids to the park. Parks teach kids to appreciate nature and spark in them the desire to preserve it. But the issue of cleanliness and
maintenance of parks is of utmost importance.
What is the message that you would like to give to kids of today?
What we sow is what we shall reap. Today’s kids are way smarter than ever and aware of the things around them. The Disney Friends for Change initiative is a live example of the same, as the awareness levels seen in kids during the transformation process has been phenomenal. The changes that kids have brought about in their neighborhood parks is amazing and has been appreciated by neighbouring communities as well as by local authorities. What is heartening is that community members have also approached the schools to adopt and transform more parks in their localities.
You are known to be associated with various social initiatives in the past. Any reason for a sudden interest?
I’ve always wanted to do my bit for the world we live in. Earlier though I felt that unless I had enough time to contribute to a cause, I didn’t want to just attach my name for a one off event but today I think differently. I feel if I’m able to leverage the reach I’ve earned as an actor to draw attention to a cause, I’d do it.