World Earth Day
World Earth Day at ‘Sneha bhavan’ Boy’s Home
As we pulled up in our tuk-tuk to the orphanage on Earth day morning, we were greeted by an old lady loading her plastic bags, bottles and various other rubbish onto two burning fire piles outside the Sneha bhavan gates.
Not the greatest of starts to Earth day, but the burning of rubbish is a very common sight in India, along with the sight of litter just being thrown to the ground, out the window or anywhere else for that matter.
The other week one of our volunteers commented when seeing a sign advertising India as ‘Gods own country’ surrounded by litter and next to the coastline covered in pollution ‘..more like the devils dustpan!’
India is an extremely beautiful country, but the pollution is a huge problem here and if policies and attitudes can be changed and people educated in protecting the environment it could go a long way to making India that bit more beautiful.
So as we strolled past the burning fire piles and through the orphanage gates, that was our mission for the day, to in our own tiny little way attempt to educate the young minds of ‘Sneha bhavan’ boys home that throwing rubbish and burning litter is not cool.
Our first class of the day was with the older boys of the home, the 10 – 12 year olds. Shawnee taught the boys a bit about environment issues and some key words in English to add to their vocabulary. Followed by a word search and the ever popular game of environmental hangman.
Next up were the youngest group, the 5 – 8 year olds, always full of energy the youngsters are not the easiest to sit down and explain global warming and the O-zone layer to. So instead we took them on a litter and leaf pick. The boys gathered the litter around the orphanages grounds and put it in the bin and also went in the search of various coloured leaves and flowers, which were then used to make some nature collages with our resident artist Shawnee.
The third class was again with the youngsters, this time we did some watercolour paintings of fish. The boys like fish and so we tried to explain that if the water is polluted, there will be no fish!!
The look of shock and panic on a 5 year olds face as he says ‘no fish!?’ says it all. In the future India needs to change. Earth day mission complete.
World Earth Day at Don Bosco boys home
World Earth Day went off without a hitch in the Don Bosco school, we proceeded as normal with the classes, but instead of the normal curriculum we based the lesson around pollution and recycling. In doing so we produced both a multiple choice quiz and a word search. Although it was not as much as we wished to do, the boys had been working in the garden and tidying up the grounds where they live, as such we thought it would be good to teach them the correct terminology for working towards a greener world.
Although the people pride themselves on their appearance and cleanliness they seem not to care about their neighbours. As such instead of chucking litter in their own garden they toss it into their neighbours. This leads to a lot of littering around the country, with people dropping litter whenever they create it, even out of train windows or bus windows as they travel. In order fight the constant littering, many of the locals sweep up piles of litter on the side of the streets and set them on fire. Although this is an effective way of getting rid of the waste it is very harmful for the environment. There is a local waste collection group run by the local government, however as with most of India, there is very little treatment of this waste and instead they use landfills. This is very harmful for the environment.
Our aim on World Earth day was simple, teach the boys about recycling and pollution and what steps they can take to help in the future. Teaching Indian boys, who have limited English, was very interesting. Many of the boys recognized the words and understood some of the concepts we covered, however they did not understand the meaning of several words. They knew the word landfill, but they did not know what it meant, they knew the word recycle but they did not know what it meant. For some it was an easy day while for others it was a bit much, but with the help of the other students the children came away with a much better understanding of many key words and what they actually mean.
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