Sanjuktha Mukund of Bangalore, India, recently won a citizen journalism contest sponsored by Citizen Matters, a Bangalore focused publication that spotlights the contributions and activities of individual citizens. Mukund’s essay discussed two different projects that he undertook in Landmark Education’s SELP program. The essay appears below:
August 29, 2008
I celebrated this Independence Day with a bang. Inspired by Landmark Education, which offers innovative programs for living an extraordinary life, I took on two projects. One called ‘Adopt a plant’ in my apartment complex and the other called ‘Colours of Freedom’ in the local government school.
Colours of Freedom
A recent visit to the Benniganahalli government school on old Madras road made me want to do something that would be fun for the children there. There are 344 kids from the 1st to 8th standard (grade). Every once in a while citizens take initiatives and distribute books and bare necessities. Giving them the basic necessities is crucial, but that need not be all. What about providing them with something lovely?
That’s when the idea of organising a colouring event this Independence Day to add colour to their lives took shape. Mumbai-based Walt Disney were generous when they came forward to provide power ranger’s masks, Mickey ears (caps), and a pack of 32 crayons for each kid. With the generous contribution from my friends and colleagues I bought colouring books – special thanks to Navneet Publishers for giving a discount on our order.
The event happened on August 16. Around 9:30 in the morning we started giving away the goodies to the kids. Soon they were busy colouring. Children of standards 1, 2 and 3 were given outline drawings which they were to colour and the other children were given a blank sheet of paper.
The kids set to work immediately and started tracing pictures from the colouring book on to the blank paper and then colouring it. It was wonderful to see all the kids busy at work, grinning ear to ear wearing Mickey ears!
Sumana Chowdhury, a renowned Bangalore-based artist was the chief guest and judged the event. Even though it was not a competition, 2 art works from each class were selected and token gifts were given to the winners.
I am very thankful to my colleagues, my family and my friends without whom these ideas would have remained a dream. Heartfelt gratitude to Disney, Navneet Publishers and Sumana Chowdhury for making it a grand event.
Adopt a Plant
Kids these days live a very urban life. The idea behind this event was to help them get close to nature by gifting them the joy of nurturing and taking care of a plant. When a kid takes care of a plant, waters it, and watches it grow, it helps the kid grow into a more sensitive, responsible person.
Then I thought, why restrict it to kids alone – let’s give one plant to each apartment. So this Independence Day I distributed one plant sapling per apartment/kid in my apartment complex, Royal Heritage, off of Old Madras Road.
In all, 72 plants were adopted. The Lions Club of Bangalore came forward to sponsor the event.
Go to the Citizen matters website to see this story in its original form.