They may be young but they are a force to reckon with.
Many schoolchildren this summer vacation have given a miss to movies and games, and volunteered to work with non-government organisations for social causes.
Aditi Sharma (12), Rajat Sahu (12) and Nandini Mehrotra (16) of Vasant Kunj in south Delhi are busy these days. They are drawing posters and banners, participating in protest marches and keeping vigil for FORCE, an NGO trying to save the Neela Hauz Lake in Vasant Kunj.
They passed this lake everyday to school and saw it dying because of the construction of a flyover in the area. The construction work has added a lot of silt and debris into this water body.
“The lake was called neela because earlier it was very blue,” said Aditi. “It was a very important source of water. Many people even went fishing there.”
Nandini said she felt strongly about environmental issues and practiced eco-friendly habits, like switching off lights and turning off taps.
“So, when we saw Neela Lake, we decided to take up its issue,” she said.
Rajat believes they can make a difference. “I feel we can recover the lake,” he said.
Many others like them have volunteered to work for NGOs.
A learning experience
Bhavya Arora (16) is a student of Bluebells International School. She and her friend Kriti Kohli (17) volunteered to work for Udayan Care, an NGO working with the underprivileged, this year.
“Besides teaching kids, our work is to put together data on Excel sheet and make presentations,” said Bhavya.
“Not only do we hone our technical skills, but we are learning to be patient.”
“We also get certificates, which we can include in our resumes while applying to colleges or for jobs in the future,” she said.
NGOs welcome them
Tara Sen (16) is spending her vacation days arranging graphics and illustrations on nature and treks as a volunteer for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“Working here, I find my work translating into the cause of spreading awar-eness towards environmental issues,” she said. “The projects I am involved in are very close to my heart.”
The organisations too are more than willing to have them aboard.
“When kids want to take up issues, we welcome them,” said Shaila Sam, a WWF spokeswoman. “We find that school children are quite dedicated.”
Sam said the Earth Hour project became a success because of involvement of schoolchildren. They had mobilised 200 schools for the project.
“They helped convince their families to switch off all lights during that one hour, which helped us to save a considerable amount of electricity in Delhi,” she said.
“The commitment children put in usually cannot be replicated by adults,” said Anu Mehrotra, citizen's coordinator of FORCE.