This past week at Railway School was spent familiarizing the students with the digital camera, while simultaneously beckoning them to begin to unravel their own individuality and passion. In preparation for the photo story project, we have been working through the power of photographs in telling stories – both of socially relevant and emotion content. This balance was reflected in our lesson plans this week that began with a Letter to the World assignment and ended with an exercise in the movement from head-to-heart with poetry. I was impressed with the topics the girls brought up in their letters, and would like to let their voices speak for themselves this week with excerpts from their classwork.
The Letter to the World responses can be categorized into 4 major categories: Education, Environment, Unity in Diversity, and Equality/Human Rights. I will go through these one at a time.
I am surprised with the number of students expressing an interest in the problem of water pollution. Perhaps it should not be surprising, considering the quality of the lake water we drive past every day on the way to work, and the caution we exercise ourselves in what water to drink when while living here. Here are a few words from the students.
Long ago humans worship earth as a goddess but nowadays humans have big axes to cut trees and cars and buses to pollute air with smoke and fumes. Insecticides and pesticides are also polluting the water, and some people are wasting water – it is not a good thing to waste water. They don’t know that still some people don’t have water to drink and we are wasting food and water. Some poor people don’t have food to eat so we have to take care of the Earth, for people. For example, we use bicycles or walk for short distances, we have to reduce plastic and recycle. Forests are being destroyed. Forests and mountains help to make rain and keep life on Earth going, we need them for enough rain.
I am very sad about what is being done to Earth. That is why I am writing to the world a letter, so we will all grow up and become good citizens. I want to have to take care of the Earth, plant more trees in our house, school, and in towns and villages. Every human has the right to take care of Earth, plants, trees, and animals.
Think now, after all you have just one mother earth. I trust we will take care of the earth well.
I want to tell a few words to change the world. We should reduce the dust because with the dust we face so many diseases. This is our world, we should keep our surroundings clean and neat. In the world different religions are there, like Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Different religions are there but we are living on the same places, Earth and Sky is the same. I want to tell one request to the world. The world should be clean and green.
“I want to save the world from pollution. Please don’t do pollution in the world.”
“Our water is polluted by factories, by insecticides and pesticides, we have to save water. If water is not there on the Earth, we are all not alive.”
Education for All:
I am Prathyusha. My message to the world is “give study to everyone.” We see on the road that there are so many beggars. If we want to stop seeing beggars it means that we have to give study to all. When they are studying then they can get a position as a worker. When I come to a high position, I will build a hostel for all.
I am not convinced this is the original thought of a student, but I was also impressed with the following that appeared in the journal of Sweta Padmini:
E = Enlightenment
D = Duty
U = Unity
C = Character
A = Action
T = Testing
I = Ideas
O = Oneliness
N = Nation
One of the girls was having trouble deciding what topic she should write her letter about. I asked her if there is anything in her community that makes her angry, and she responded that she gets angry when people make fun of beggars. She went on to write a heartwarming letter about the need to express love towards the people who beg on the streets.
A country with large population and innumerable religious places has many beggars. In India all types of beggars are found in large numbers. These beggars are small children, women, handicapped, and diseased people. Sometimes children of young ages are stolen or kidnapped by members of gangs and get them trained for begging. The money the children or people begging get will go to those people. Most of the beggars are found near temples, mosques, and churches, railway stations, bus stops, hospitals, etc. In has not received people’s support. I is true that most people do not like this public nuisance but are somewhere eager to help the poor beggars. So, I am telling that we have to show love and affection with the beggars.
Unity: Religious and Human
‘Unity in Diversity’ is one of the aspects of Indian culture that it seems many take pride in – for good reason. This sentiment resonated through the writing of some students.
I am Srav’s of 8th class from Railway Girls High School. I am telling about religions like Hindus, Christians, Muslims. In Hindu there are so many festivals. Holi is the important festival where we play with color – all of my friends come to my house and we play with color. On December 25th, Christians celebrate Christmas. If we have problems we pray to Jesus and they will be solved. The Muslims wear long white tops and caps also. In our country we don’t fight – we are friendly and we are all equal.
To the world,
I am D. Kirthi studying in 8th A. I am telling about unity in diversity. All countries have to be in unity. If we fight we get sad, if we all are in unity we get happy.
Keep smile and be unity.
I look forward to helping the girls express their opinions on all of these issues, and am excited to see the first signs of coming up with a meaningful project during our time together this six months. Finally, I will close with a few of the student’s poems…
Unlike to go to another school
House is my Heaven
A Different Mind Thing
Krevathi on her Mother
Cooking, Washing, Cleaning
Until next time,