Ten-year-olds Proteeti Sinha and Sanah Bhabha were not particular about observing Earth Hour up till last year. But Earth Hour 2011 will be one they will never forget.
In the darkness of Colaba’s Sagar Upvan botanical gardens on Saturday, a lawn-full of people raised their candles by way of applause in recognition of the girls’ achievement — last month, Sinha and Bhabha raised Rs 70,000 for the cause of tigers when they participated in Khar Gymkhana’s Swim Marathon.
The money has been donated to the Tiger Project, an initiative of the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, which spearheads the Earth Hour campaign and organised the event in Colaba.
“I thought of raising money for saving tigers after writing a school essay on the topic,” said Sinha, a Class 6 student of Arya Vidya Mandir, Bandra, and a national level swimmer.
Bhabha, a state level swimmer at the same gymkhana, was also inspired to take up the cause because of tiger-campaigns in her school. The duo went door-to-door among their friends and neighbours collecting money, and even auctioned two ‘Save the Tiger’ t-shirts for Rs 11,000 each to a generous donor.
“We didn’t win, but were the only ones who thought of raising money through it,” said Bhabha, a Class 6 student of Juhu’s Jamnabai Narsee School.
Goldin Quadros, WWF India’s interim state director, was happy to have two of his organisation’s causes served on one day. While the girls’ money will be pumped into various programmes within the Tiger Project, the Earth Hour celebration saw a healthy turnout of south Mumbai families eager to participate with their children.
“In 2009 the island city saved 65 mega watts of energy in one hour despite the IPL; we hope to save much more this year,” said Quadros.