Sishu Prativa Utsav….charting new territory
Bhubaneshwar, 14 November 2007: In one corner of the school’s large playfield, the stall was drawing a steady stream of children. At the entrance, a desk with a big voluminous book with blank pages seemed the centre of attraction for children. The young visitors peered into it with curiosity as the organizer explained: “It’s a community story book. Anyone can start with an idea and the next child can take it further.”
By the evening, the book was almost complete as the young creative minds took the concept to a whole new level stitching up their ideas one after another to make one long story, replete with pictures and illustrations.
That epitomized Sishu Prativa Utsav 2007, (Children’s Talent Festival) a joint effort of UNICEF and the School and Mass Education Department of the Government of Orissa.
A total of 450 students drawn from various schools from across the state were selected to take part in the two day festival beginning November 13. And there, faced with a series of innovative challenges, the children rose to the occasion.
The highlight of the Festival was the workshop on the opening day on three different subjects – Children in Emergency Situations, Children in Socio-Cultural Situations and Children in School Governance - which tested them individually as well as in groups under different social circumstances.
“We need to treat children as equals on par with adults. The objective of this year’s festival is to respect them as individuals who have a social responsibility,” said Minister for Woman and Child Development Pramila Mallick.
The young ones showed the way. They presented their individual views and suggested solutions to bring about desired social change. What ensued was a colourful presentation on Children in Emergency Situations where they came up with narrations on natural calamities and ways to mitigate the impact of disaster.
Divided into four different groups, the children displayed posters and presented dance dramas to drive home the significance of ecological conservation and the hazards of environmental pollution.
Then they followed it up with the third round on Children in School Governance. Armed with reports, lectures, photographs, paintings, best practices and case studies described through poems and stories, the students, divided into four groups, presented the problems, discussed them and suggested solutions thereof.
In the words of young Sudhansu Bala: “For wholesome growth, a child needs encouragement at home, in the school and also as an individual member of society. This festival gave us one such great opportunity to assess ourselves.”
Secretary, School and Mass Education Department Suresh Chandra Patnaik endorsed the view. The very objective is to give the children a right social ambience to grow into a conscious and responsible citizen and Sishu Prativa Utsav 2007 is a step in that direction.
On the final day of the festival, the students charted out 10 recommendations which were presented to the State Government for its consideration.
Students continue to face discrimination on the basis of sex, caste, economic condition and physical disability. There is a strong need for sensitizing both teachers and students.