Children learn about social responsibility through school programmes that encourage altruism

While Children’s Day is celebrated all over the country with much fun, frolic and fanfare, the activities of some schools in the city remind us of another reason to celebrate the occasion – the limitless potential possessed by children to do good.

City schools have begun the trend of teaching their students social responsibility through programmes that give students a first hand look into the lives of the needy and underprivileged, and allow them to help bring about a positive change.

Jaya Jacob, principal of Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Elamakkara, says that the school started community service programmes nearly seven years ago, “One of the things we do is provide each class with a ‘Desire Box’ where students can contribute funds and supplies to help people in need. A team of teachers oversees this and students are also encouraged to bring a handful of rice and dal every month. The collective efforts of the students have helped us to contribute supplies to the General Hospital, as well as provide students of Tripunithura Government Palace School with uniforms and Onam kits. The students are also actively involved in activities through the integrity and social service clubs, which is very heartening to see.”

Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Tripunithura, has been a recent entrant into these efforts, beginning September last year but wasting no time with their social service activities. According to Principal Sunanda Murali, the students are divided into different sections, with primary school students providing pulses to Vignodayam School in Udayamperoor while high school students were given hands-on experience interacting with the underprivileged when they visited Asha Bhavan to deliver supplies.

“There were even occasions when the children saw the requirements at the sites they visited and raised money. There are also plans to deliver a presentation on the importance of basic hygiene on their future visits,” says Sunanda.

Demonstrating the potential of a collective effort, the ‘Ishare’ programme started by the Rajagiri Public School operates on the simple premise of collecting one rupee a day from the students. The proceeds from the programme have helped in the construction of labs, toilets and a library at the HMT School in Kalamassery. “The students realise the importance of their contributions, and we try to encourage them to save on small things like sweets and contribute that amount,” says Susan Varghese Cherian, principal of Rajagiri Public School. The school also runs an Interact club, with students making and selling sandwiches and cake, using the proceeds to help patients at the Government Hospital cancer ward. “I have realised the saddening reality of how helpless we can be when there is no one around to look after us. The activities we undertake have shown us more about life, outside the four walls of our classroom. There is a multitude out there in need of our care and I hope that we give them what they truly deserve,” says George Thakkolkaran, a Class XI student of the school.

These are just a few of the efforts being undertaken by the aforementioned schools and many others in the city to render some help to those in need, demonstrating that bringing up children with strong morals and values is as important a part of education as the content of their textbooks.