We dedicate this space to our young environmental crusaders from our ‘Sanskar’ program who continue to live our curriculum as a way of life. We salute them for touching lives and transforming their environment wherever they go. They continue to inspire us as champions for a sustainable future we are stepping into.
“Sanskar has made me what I am today,’’ says Kalpana Sain who considers herself very fortunate to have done the programme ten years back when she was in std 6. “Just like Lord Buddha got a new life and discovered himself when he got enlightenment, I feel I got a new life and discovered myself after I did the Sanskar programme. I had no clue about the environment problems and how we cause them and damage our health and society also. It opened my eyes to these problems and made me think how I am going to make a difference. Sanskar made me believe in myself and I felt I became much more responsible in every area of my life because once you become responsible towards one area like environment, you automatically become responsible in other areas. Also, it was so much fun because we were taught through games, workshops, campaigns, quizzes and so many enjoyable activities that we couldn’t wait for the next Sanskar class. Though I changed schools and cities, I continued to spread the Sanskar programme everywhere I went. Today, I am a doctor and I still keep following the teachings I learned from Sanskar and spread them to everyone in my life.”
Kalpana’s inspirational work
She educated a group of playmates in her colony on current environment problems and solutions that she learned through the Sanskar programme. She was able to motivate them to form a team of volunteers to help her spread her message
- She organised talks and demonstrations on effective waste management and conducted clean up drives in her surrounding
- She also organised plays on the 3R concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle waste for her housing society
- She conducted workshops on vermi-composting and preparation of Natural Holi colours
- She convinced her family members and hundreds of other people in her school and neighbourhood to give up fire-crackers at Diwali time, both in Mumbai and Chennai
- She carried out campaigns against plastic bags in her locality and convinced many people to substitute plastic bags with cloth ones
- She asked all her friends to plant one tree sapling each on her birthday instead of giving her any other gift.
- She and her team held talks and meetings on the need for conservation of water on a daily basis and specially at the time of festivals like Holi
“When I was in 6th grade, I got an opportunity to be a part of Sanskar India Foundation’s programme called Sanskar. My classmates and I eagerly looked forward to Wednesdays, when the Sanskar teacher used to tell us about various environment and civic issues. Every time we left the class reflecting upon our actions and how they are going to affect our future.
Although the programme motivated to make many lifestyle changes and use natural resources judiciously, the one topic that moved me deeply was that of fire crackers. Many days before Diwali we were told about the innumerable harmful effects of bursting firecrackers and students shared their experiences. We were so impacted that at the end of the class we pledged never to burst firecrackers. It’s been 10 years since then and I haven’t burnt a single firecracker. At the end of each class we were asked to share what we learnt with our family, friends and neighbours. After this class we went out to convince people to give up firecrackers. My family has lived up to the pledge with me.
I believe that being sensitized to issues in society at a young age moulded my thoughts and aspirations. Now I am a teacher and impart the teachings of Sanskar to my students so that they learn young.”
Rukmani Dikshit deserves to be lauded for her efforts in convincing her grandmother to change to using eco-friendly bags for her pickle business instead of plastic ones.
Rukmani was so inspired by the Sanskar sessions organised by Sanskar India Foundation in her school that she decided to lead the change in her family. What is heartening is that she saw a connection between what was being taught in class to real life. Realising that her family business too was consuming plastics, a commodity whose usage needs to be drastically reduced, she decided to ACT with responsibility and put a stop to this.
Rukmani’s maternal grandmother runs a pickle business, Pure, selling mainly through exhibitions. ‘Rukmani would ask us to stop using plastic bags to give away the pickle bottles before each exhibition. At one point she even threatened to not allow us to hold any exhibitions if we did not give up plastics!’ said Mrs Nandita Dixit, Rukmani’s mother.
Thanks to Rukmani’s efforts the business converted to using eco-friendly bags in place of plastic, which did cost more but have been seen as a small price to pay for a greener planet.