City students win accolades for community service
Two 17-year-old students of The Shri Ram School — Udai Singh and Sharanya Gambhir — were felicitated with silver medals at the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards, a national school-level youth recognition programme for volunteer community service.
Over 4,000 students from across India applied for the programme. Many of this year's runners-up and finalists were honoured for working to support the unemployed, imparting life skills, running anti-tobacco campaigns, raising awareness about social issues such as child abuse, collecting used toys for underprivileged children, volunteering at old age homes and establishing a web portal to bridge the gap between volunteers and NGOs.
The magic of science
Udai Singh developed a workshop to promote the love for science among underprivileged children in Photoksar village of Ladakh region that has the highest school dropout rates in the country.
“The schools are small and scattered and very few students come for classes. The resources and facilities are so poor that they can be considered negligible. There are no desks, chairs, books or any good learning material,” he said.
Udai’s ‘Discover Science’ workshop was a pilot trial for 17,000ft Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works to improve quality of education in nearly 1,000 village schools in the region. With his personal love for science and a little help from a classmate, Udai prepared the module that contained 22 experiments and a small science kit.
The aim was to explain some fundamental science concepts through simple experiments and fun activities, using materials available in isolated Ladakh.
“The kids were fascinated by the experiments and readily participated. Many of them wanted to try them out and thought I was trying to teach them magic tricks,” said Udai. Last summer, he trekked for three days at an altitude of over 16,000 feet to reach the school in the interiors of Ladakh and successfully conducted the pilot project.
For women in Mewat
Sharanya Gambhir developed the ‘Mewat Redevelopment and Education Programme’,a school rehabilitation and community development programme for backward communities in the Haryana district. The programme focused on increasing health and sanitation awareness among children.
A conservative mindset and age-old beliefs and superstitions, especially towards women, were what Sharanya and her friends worked to dispel. “We worked on various issues but the most striking was the lack of personal hygiene among women,” said Sharanya.
“Women in the villages had never used sanitary pads. This was not because they could not afford it but because they felt ashamed to talk about it even to their mothers,” said Sharanya. As part of the initiative, Shranya and her friends involved teachers to get an organisation to conduct workshops to deal with the matter sensitively.