For students of the Panchayat Union Middle School in Hasthinapuram near Guduvanchery, it is time to celebrate. A project they worked on has brought the school recognition nationally.The team from their school is among the four from Tamil Nadu and the only government school to make it to the top 20 teams from India at the ‘Design for Change' (DFC) contest, conceptualised and by the Riverside School, Ahmedabad.

Nearly 2,000 entries came from schools across India. The top 20 solutions were honoured at the prize distribution ceremony organised at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, recently.

Excited children

Soon after they got down from Navjeevan Express on Monday evening, the students and their teacher came to the DPI campus all excited, to share their joy with officials there.

The contest required students to design solutions for problems that they encounter in their lives, schools, neighbourhoods or community. They had to try implementing the solutions, document their work and send it to DFC.

“We worked on solar energy. We had taken some rice grains from our mid-day meal centre, cooked it in a solar cooker we had made and showed it to the guests,” G. Kokilapriya, visibly fascinated about her trip.

R. Boomadevi, her friend, eagerly adds: “See, solar energy is renewable. You can use it for years and it will still be there. It is very useful.”

Their four-member team bagged a whole lot of prizes for their effort.

A lot of learning

For the two girls and their classmates, R. Muthukumar and J. Robinson, the trip has meant a lot of learning, too.

One particular project where a team of students had collected old newspapers, sold them and bought medicines for cancer patients seems to have impressed the young brigade.

“Isn't that a great idea?” asked Robinson, as Muthukumar quickly adds, “There were several such interesting projects. It was so much fun speaking to students like us from other states.”

S. Chithra, their teacher who accompanied them, says the students are eager to share all their experiences with their friends in school who also worked on the project.“They want to develop it further. In fact the director of NID was also very impressed with our children's project and has made note of how they went about it. He wants to try it out in the institute's neighbourhood.”

Sevalaya, Thiruninravur, APL Global School, Thoraipakkam, and Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram, Kilpauk, were the other three schools from the State that made it to the list of top 20 solutions.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012