Nearly 20 schools have responded to ‘Poverty Solutions’ initiative of Shanti Ashram

It does not take much to motivate school children to help unprivileged ones their age. This can be seen from the way students from nearly 20 schools have responded to ‘Poverty Solutions’ initiative of Shanti Ashram launched on October 2.

The three-month initiative (October 2 – January 30, 2013), which has completed 40 days, is witnessing students adopting the Food Bank, Peace Cards, or ‘Hundi’ programmes, to make contributions to eradicate poverty, especially among children.

G. Vijayaragavan, Head, Youth Leadership Programme of the Ashram, says it all started with the orientation that volunteers of the Ashram made in the 20 schools.

“We addressed students from Standard VI upwards and offered various options by which they can save and contribute that savings to eradicate child poverty. This three-month period was chosen with a purpose in mind. This is the festival season and students get to spend a lot on new clothes, crackers, sweets, food, and entertainment. Hence, the opportunity to save on some excesses is also very high,” he says.

True to his logic, the initiative has seen many students save during Deepavali purchases and contribute towards the cause. While some are saving money in the ‘hundi’ that they got to save by refraining from buying crackers or some lavish gift, some others bought greeting cards. There are others who are adding fistful of grains to the Food Bank.

The schools have been very supportive of this initiative and are encouraging the students to do their bit. The organisers have included all kinds of schools to bring in a cross-section of students within the programme.

All the collections will be consolidated during the last week of January 2013 and according to the wish of the student, his contribution will be utilised for the benefit of poor children.

The initiative will be extended to college students in December 2012 after the semester examinations. Already, five institutions have shown willingness to be part of this.

Shanti Ashram has included 20 schools and expects to add a few colleges in this pilot initiative of poverty eradication.

Next year, another three months will be identified to take the same initiative to more number of schools and colleges, based on the response.

The Ashram representatives see this initiative as an opportunity to develop the habit of saving and refraining from spending on excesses among children.

Wastage

The focus is also on stressing the need to take food according to need so that wastage can be avoided. Children are made to understand that every morsel of food is precious for the poor.

These, they believe will reflect in better practices whereby the students who have in excess will learn moderation so that those who live in penury will at least get their basic needs.

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