Thursday, 21 June 2012

A 1000 Messages from Cambridge High School

We conducted The 1000 Crane Workshop at The Cambridge High School, in Varca, South Goa. 

This is a school set in the middle of the Varca village, and so, we had a good group of the village children, who live much closer to the coast and some also come from families of fishing community, hence, knowing about the tsunami and the destruction it caused in Japan, was something that they understood and related to as well.

We worked with 62 children from class 5, 6 and 7. The school is fairly new, and hence has only one division for each grade, and encourages the children from around the area to study there, so the numbers are not very large.

Midway, our presentation, there was a power cut, and hence, we could not show them the entire presentation on the nuclear power or the film of Sadako Sasaki, but, with the help of the examples of previously painted T-shirts, we were able to tell them the story, and inspire them to paint their own T-shirts.

All of them made it a point to write a message for the children in Japan, apart from painting their own cranes on it, and more than the tsunami, the story of the disaster caused by the damage in the Fukushima power plant, is what touched their heart, and a number of them wrote slogans to stop nuclear power and stop war and destruction.

A number of them also wrote messages of peace and hope, and love for the children in Japan.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The 1000 Crane Goa Chapter begins at Holy Spirit Institute, Margao

We started the Goa workshops of The 1000 Crane Project today from Holy Spirit Institute, Margao. This is one amongst the oldest local schools in Margao City of Goa. The school mainly caters to the local middle class and lower middle class population of the area, and has a mixed group of children.
The objective of The 1000 Crane Project, is not only to conduct the art exchange camps for the underprivileged children that we work with here in Goa, and in other parts of India thru our partner organizations, but, also, to make it a program to conduct special school workshops, spreading awareness about the Environment, the Society and the Community as a whole. We also wish to complete the painting of the 1000 T-shirts for the children of Fukushima by August, so that we can aim at sending them to Japan, latest by the end of the year or beginning of 2013 ( we are still looking for a sponsor for the same)
So, we worked with a 148 students from the 8th Grade of the school. Since the school has a space constraint and we were not able to work with all of them at one time, so, we had to make the presentation at every division. We did lose a little time because of this but in the end we did get some beautiful T-shirts painted by the children.

The story of the tsunami and the what can happen if it occurs was well understood and visualized, since these are Goan children and live by the shore. So, for them to visualize what can happen at the time of a tsunami was easy. Some of them were surprised, when we told them that a tsunami wave can be as high as a 5 storey building.
We then gave them a background of what happened in Fukushima, and a brief background of what is nuclear power and hazards of the same.  Having informed them about the hazards, we also let them know why the leaders of the world think it is important to builder nuclear power plants cause everything also has a good side to it, but, it is a dangerous option for the generation of power, because even a little danger or damage in one of the power plants and we can all be harmed. Hence, we also showed them other options of generating power in a eco-friendly and safe manner.
With the story of the tsunami, and the destruction in Fukushima, we were able to also inform them about the plight of the children in Fukushima because of this disaster, and asked them to think if they wanted to swap lives with these children, the obvious answer was NO, but then we also made them realize thru the story of Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 Paper Cranes, how important it is for us to be aware of our environment and the hazards that can be caused if we don’t protect it, and that as a gesture of peace and solidarity, we would like them to paint the T-shirts for the children in Japan.

The overall interest and enthusiasm was good, we just fell short of time, since the last batch was able to assemble only close to the school closing time, and so, we got some really FAST CRANE T-SHIRTS with the exact message across, but, done in a jiffy.

Sophie and Nancy, were as usual with me to assist at the workshop. We also had Nishi Das , a high school teacher in Cuttack, Orissa, and a friend, who helped us manage the group. Simon Pratap, a student of Peace Studies in Austria, and also the son of Neel & Birgit Pratap, the founders of the Naveen Nursery & Primary Schoo, Benaras, where I was in April, also joined us to help us with the workshop.
To conduct the T-shirt painting drive of the  1000 Crane Project in the local schools of Goa, has been a plan since we began the program in June last year,  and we are all very happy that we have finally begun, as we want as many children of Goa, to benefit from this program the most, and be able to contribute their wishes to the children of Fukushima, Japan, and become more aware of the environment they live in and work towards conserving this beautiful state of Goa.