Kids ‘work’ as consultants

CHENNAI, 04/03/2019 : FOR DOWN TOWN : Students display at Global Citizenship Exhibition at Chettinad Harishree Vidyalayam School in R.A.Puram in Chennai .March 03. Photo: B. Velankanni Raj / The Hindu  

In June 2017, Chettinad Harishree Vidyalayam initiated a ‘Global Citizenship Programme’ under which students from classes VI to XII are encouraged to spend an hour every week working on projects based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

Over the last two years, the students have developed expertise in solid waste management and energy and water conservation. And now, they have become “consultants”. The young ‘global citizens’ are taking their new-found knowledge beyond the campus.

“They go on awareness campaigns to apartment complexes urging residents to segregate at source. Besides, they train the junior-students and the support staff at the school on how to segregate waste and compost it. They also visit communities where they can learn more about solid waste management,” says Yoshida Menon, the Global Citizenship Programme coordinator.

“The idea behind the Global Citizenship Programme is “think globally and act locally” through which we urge our students to consider the world as their family and find solutions to the problems in their communities,” says Geetha Muthaiah, the school’s director.

Last Saturday, there was the Global Citizenship Exhibition, where students put on display all the sustainable projects they had worked on over the year.

“We wanted to make it a zero-waste event. We did not use any non-biodegradable material that will end up in the trash bins. We wrote the slogans on jute cloth and made the decorations ourselves from recyclable materials,” says Shimona Martin, a Class VIII student.

“The students had put up some of the upcycled products for sale at a nominal price. They are planning to use the money collected to work on more projects and find innovative solutions to environmental problems,” says Yoshida.

Waste matters

It may be recalled that sometime ago, in these pages we drew attention to the solid waste management initiatives being undertaken by students of this school. These initiatives are geared to a larger project, whose central objective is minimising waste generation and making the most of the waste that can’t help being generated.

They have set up a composting unit for bio-degradable waste The manure is used in the vegetable garden at the school. They also created a vertical garden with recycled plastic bottles.

Lessons in upcycling

The students have created a separate unit where they can recycle waste that can be recycled. In the art projects at the school, students upcyle dry waste into useful products. Old trophy boxes and old uniform clothes are used to make pen stands. Coconut shells are transformed into mini planters, incense holders and wind chimes. Dry leaves become dhonnais. The paper waste is processed to make hand-made papers. They also partner with Auroville-based Eco Femme and stitch eco-friendly and reusable cloth pads.

Conservation collective

The students have taken small steps towards conserving water and energy. Recently, they mapped the switch boards in the common areas of the school and numbered the fans and the corresponding switches so that unnecessary switches are not flicked on. They have also taken measures to arrest wastage of water at the toilets in the school by optimising flush tanks by attaching a small plastic bottle filled with sand inside the tank.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 12:53:39 PM |

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