Saturday, August 30, 2008

Project Kanini: Hidden Gems of PVR Orphanage

Though Speak Out classes have begun on time this year, Kanini's start was delayed due to the time taken to repair the computers donated to BHUMI by Satyam Computers.

Kanini's roll-out began this Independence Day weekend at Anbu Karangal and PV Rao Orphanage & School. After Ayyanar and his team gave a short introduction to computers, the 15 students of class 10 were allowed to work on the computers. All of them were 'touching' a computer for the first time in their life!

The Kanini Syllabus starts of with MS Paint, which allows the kids to learn mouse handling and also have some fun at the same time. The kids started working with a bit of help from the volunteers. Within 30 seconds one kid had drawn an India Map (more or less!) I don't know how many of you could have managed stuff like this within your first few minutes on a comp... I'm sure i would've struggled quite a bit.

As they gave finishing touches to their first drawings on a PC all of us were pleasantly surprised...

It left me thoughtful, What would've these children become with a normal family, childhood, education & facilities like a computer?

Another reminder that Children are a precious resource, they lack opportunity, not capability! Another wake up call for us as BHUMIans to work faster and better to bring more and more under-privileged children into our supplementary education programmes. The future is bright!
Can u spot the Happy faces of the volunteers among the children? :)

Cross Posted from the BHUMI, Chennai Blog

Monday, August 4, 2008

Think Green

Climate change is the most agonizing challenge being faced by the humanity today. In a country of a billion population and a majority of them being dependent on the limited natural resources for the basic survival, the problem of climate change assumes a much greater significance. When the Himalayan glaciers, that feed almost 40% of the humanity (India and China), face the threat of a complete melt down due to increasing temperature, the agriculture that survives purely on the rivers fed by these glaciers would collapse resulting in the worst socio-economic crisis our country has ever faced. If the worst has to come, the perennial rivers could well become seasonal rivers, fed only by the monsoon, in the coming next three decades. With a 7000km long coastline, the threat of sea level rise poses a danger as grave as the melt down of glaciers. Severe shortage of food and drinking water, continuous failure of agriculture leading to collapse of a civil society is already being felt in some countries of the world. The need to address the issue of climate change is now at its highest point given the fact most of the extreme climatic events, like the break down of Larsen shelf, shrinking Greenland ice etc, are pre-dating the predictions of the scientific community. The only comforting point is that we might be just able to avert a crisis and stabilize the climate in its present form so that we may have just enough time to figure out ways to mitigate the problems and work towards a more sustainable earth. This is not all about climate change but a brief overview of the prospective dangers posed by climate change.
Every individual is a stakeholder in this process and the least anybody can do is to be aware – of the causes of the climate change, the individual’s contribution, ways of reducing the strain on environment and creating a more sustainable environment.

The Initiative:

Think Green is the initiative which is going to primarily focus on creating this awareness among the people of Chennai, to begin with and subsequently extending it to other parts of the state. The Program aims to produce a strong group of committed youth leaders who will carry the message of Climate Change, Leaders who will initiate and lead grassroots climate groups in their work, schools, colleges and communities. Alongside generating awareness, we envisage to take up a project in the form of a fieldwork to demonstrate that we aren’t just armchair philosophers but we would also engage in direct action to demonstrate our commitment for the cause.

The Program:

The time frame for the program is set at six months to one year and has three divisions.

1. Getting ourselves ready
2. Making presentations
3. Field Project

Getting ourselves ready: Most of us know about climate change but in order to make presentations that sound credible and convincing, it is important that we equip ourselves with authentic data and scientifically proven facts to back our claims. Enough material will be provided to the participants. The participants are expected to do some basic research into the subject and make a Power Point presentation. The culmination of this stage would be a one-day training session in which the participants would be provided with more perspectives and ideas that could be used to fine-tune their presentation. The training session will be held in roughly a month’s time.

People working for the same company or studying in the same college or even a group of individuals could team up to simplify the work and make the presentation more effective by doing independent in-depth research.

Making Presentations: Every group/individual is expected to make at least one presentation a month in schools/colleges/workplace/community or any other place of their choice. While Bhumi would actively look out for prospective places where presentations could be made participants are encouraged to identify places where they would be more comfortable.

Field Project: This is a relatively tricky assignment of the three. Nevertheless, this could be the most effective way to spread the message and drive the point home. The project could be anything from a tree plantation drive in the neighbouring community to campaigning against the usage of low grade plastic in residential colonies or sensitizing people in the office to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by encouraging them to use public transport or forming car pools. Every group or participant is expected to submit a draft proposal one the eve of the training session.

People who want be a part of this program please fill this form. All fields are mandatory to have a rough idea and generate a pool of ideas to proceed with.