54 Kids of Sama School in Ahmedabad came out valiantly with their demands for a better world; A world they would want to inhabit and be happy in
Located in the predominantly Muslim residential colony of Danilimbda, Ahmedabad, the Sama School has long stood as a tall bastion of hope for hundreds of children – coming from a diverse spectrum of social upbringing. Many, often come from families with financial constraints with their parents primarily working as house helps, rickshaw pullers, and daily wage labourers – the children come in droves, full of aspirations and dreams. Unfurling the hope with their bags full of books, the school proves as a gleeful escapade to their current situation helping them move towards a new dawn.
On the 17th November, beyond the normal routine, the school was witnessing an expected activity with an undertone of dreams and promises, brimming with opportunities. Girls and boys, aggrouped together, were etching words in Gujarati. Aesthetically, they seemed like mere etches on chart paper, but they contained a deeper connotation – a meaning that might very well seep out of the closeted walls of the classroom.
The activity was a part of the ongoing nationwide campaign Be a Jagrik – Samvidhan LIVE!… Live the SDGs! Initiated by Delhi based Community – The Youth Collective. The initiative is a sandbox of awareness, equally focussed on fundamental rights and fundamental duties through the lenses of within the parameters set out by the SDGs is being supported in Gujrat by local organisation Urja Ghar. Urja Ghar is a group of young people based in Lambadiya village in the Sabarkantha district of North Gujarat and has been instrumental in extending a resolute commitment to peace, social justice and critical thinking. They have sustained their work in 55 villages of Sabarkantha and Banaskantha district of Gujarat and Udaipur district of Rajasthan for over nine years now. An immersion with children might seem like an unlikely bet but the promises and dreams, beautifully enumerated by the children, are bringing a renewed validation to the process.
“We want to build houses – big and wide – for those who often don’t have a roof of their own for their entire lives”, dreamt Yasir and Aalfiya Qureshi. “I want to become a fashion designer” thought Mehfooz, Ayesha, and Qureshi Ali. “I want to memorize the Quran so that I can become a scholar” said Rehnuma, Aksa, and Afsa with a confirmed conviction. And similarly, more than 50 children, perched up in every corner of the room started rolling out their dreams. It was as if a swan song was being played in a wave of childish fun, but reformed with conviction. Every child had a dream – a dream that will hopefully translate the real difficulties they face every day before coming to school; a reality that might create a new dream for their parents.
Their dreams were supported and given a new voice when the children came out with firm demands – demands that they wanted fulfilled for a better future; setting up a new manifesto for young people who are often marginalised , misunderstood and misrepresented in our modern development conversations. “To fulfill our dreams we want better colleges, libraries, computer labs, fields to play” almost all children said this and agreed upon it with unison. Sohail Qureshi added to this resonantly, “There should be scholarships for those who would want to become a public servant. And there should be no discrimination in selection and it should be only based on merit”. Other demands merited the cause of safe places for others, free and accessible healthcare for poor, clean environment, and subsidy on expensive and essential drugs and legal reforms.
“Often many children – especially girls – don’t come out to study due to family, financial, and cultural problems; dreaming seems a very distant dream then. But, this kind of a mobilisation Adda helps children to voice out their opinions and proudly put forward their views of the world. A world they would want to inhabit and be happy in”, says Rehana Khan, Anchor for Be A Jagrik at Urja Ghar who was instrumental in organising this activity for the children.
These promises once collated will be compiled and the top 10+1 promises will be used to advocate for change with duty bearers in their vicinity. The Optimist citizen would be covering another story, showcasing the importance of such dreams and promises on the larger part of a young India, in the coming days.[infobox title=’BE A JAGRIK’]Be a Jagrik – Samvidhan LIVE!… Live the SDGs! is designed to create a vibrant citizenry, one that is engaged, responsible and constitutionally aware. Through the game Be A Jagrik – Samvidhan LIVE!…live the SDGs, the crucial gap in our collective consciousness will be bridged. It aims to help citizens live and experience the SDGs (Constitution of the world) and rights and duties enshrined in the Indian Constitution thereby enshrining them in their minds forever. It draws from some of the best initiatives we have undertaken together. The initiative through this game will also collect promises of young people and connect to relevant duty bearers keeping in mind the general election 2019.[/infobox]