‘Children should save money used to buy crackers for better causes’
Nalini Sengupta, principal, Vidya Valley School, shares ways in which she believes we can encourage children to have a noise-free Diwali.pune Updated: Oct 11, 2017 17:29 IST
A child’s mind is impressionable. S/he will more often than not replicate what s/he sees. Hence, as a society it is our duty to set the right example for them. Nalini Sengupta, principal, Vidya Valley School, shares ways in which she believes we can encourage children to have a noise-free Diwali.
What are steps can we take to create awareness about a noise-free Diwali, especially among children?
Talking to them is the most important step. You have to tell them stories or get them to share stories revolving around the subject. For example, an online video of people suffering because of the pollution in Delhi is what has really touched many students. I had a few students from school discuss the ill-effects of air and noise pollution because of crackers. This really sensitised the little ones. Honestly, the younger children (below class 5) are more sensitive to such issues. They are the ones who can be moulded and taught the difference from the beginning. Having pets at home also helps them understand the effects of crackers. They see pets suffer and realise what must not be done. They see how painful it is for the animals. Getting them to share these stories in class helps create awareness among other students too.
What activities have you conducted at the school to promote a noise-free Diwali?
Like I said, we make it a point to talk to, and discuss with, students on the ill-effects of burning crackers. In addition, we hold a slogan-making, diya painting and several other workshops to create awareness about the festival. The idea is to get them to understand that celebrations are all about spreading happiness and love. We tell them that one can have fun and a good time without the presence of crackers too. Some of the students went around their neighbourhood and put up slogan charts urging people to have a noise- and pollution-free festival. Having said this, awareness about air and noise pollution should be spoken of all year round and not only during Diwali.
What are the alternatives that children can go for instead of buying crackers?
I know of many kids who prefer making sweets at home with family. Some opt for sparklers (light emitting crackers), however, these give out smoke, so they too must be avoided. Children should be encouraged to save money used to buy crackers for better causes. For example: helping a needy student with stationery or visiting an orphanage or old-age home. It is a festival of sharing and happiness. We need children to learn that first.
What should parents do to help the situation?
To start with, parents can stop buying Diwali crackers. They should encourage the children to use the money for better purposes. Parents should involve children in preparation of sweets, decorations and other rituals at home. Also, I think parents should not buy nylon clothes for themselves or the children. Nylon clothes catch fire, so even if the child is not burning firecrackers but is around one, it could lead to an accident. This way they can avoid injuries or fatal mishaps.