Day: January 27, 2010

Waste Matters

On the 14th of January, 40 students and 4 teachers of the American school (ABS), Bandra Kurla Complex visited the Dharavi Project to meet our members and see the recycling Industry in Dharavi. The recyclers were struck by the age of these  young environmentalists from the 5th grade who were participating in our “waste matters” project.
 
The International school has children from all over the world studying with them. The 2 buses arrived at 11 am in Dharavi as part of the community and social responsibility project of the school. The Dharavi Project has been chosen as one of the NGO’s with which the ABS will be working this year. The 5th graders have already seen the documentary “Waste” and attended my talk last month on the work we are doing in Dharavi. I was asked many questions by these bright students during the talk, their young minds were delighted when I told them that they could visit  Dharavi and see  the  recycling process which finally took place on the 14th .
 
At every unit the students wanted to feel with their own hands the material being recycled, raising fresh questions, which our committee members gladly answered.
After visiting the segregation , cardboard, footwear, plastic units, the students got back into their buses and went back to school.
The students and teachers thanked our members for being such kind hosts and allowing the  them to walk into their working spaces and educating them on the importance of  recycling.

The Workshop

The Acorn Dharavi Project conducted a successful workshop for children of members living in the Rag pickers communities in Dharavi on 13th december, 2009. The workshop was conducted by a visiting volunteer Ekaterina Nikolova ( Katya) who used a mix of theatre, craft, games , physical activity, drawing , art and various other teaching techniques to make the children laugh, cry , shout ,learn and unlearn about their city and Dharavi.

 
The three hour workshop was attended by 35 students, and acorn committee members Anil, Vinod, Rafiq, Lakshmi, Sabya, Sangita, Kamble Moushi, and Fatima who assisted  Katya. What is remarkable was that Katya was able to communicate with the children despite speaking very little Hindi, and the kids knew very little English.
 
The workshop started with a introduction of all the kids to each other where they learnt their names, by shouting it out loud for all to hear, there itself the ice was broken when they all held hands and learnt their own names.
This followed by a theatre session, where the children played various synchronised games i.e clapping, tom and Jerry, blind cat, Hawa chali and role reversal games. All these games were conducted in the open ground of the Xavier Institute where the workshop was conducted.
 

The next session was the Art class which involved the children doing a collage of “My Mumbai” with waste paper, the children could not believe their eyes that they had made the collages themselves, their smiles say it all.This followed with a small lecture in English and hindi on global warming by Katya and Vinod, Recycling and the role of their parents in Rag picking and waste segregation. They also participated in a discussion on what problems that Dharavi was facing and the children came up with the burning issues i.e water, housing , electricity, schools, colleges, health etc,
Finally the entire group participated in a group drawing of ” My life in  Dharavi” , each group consisted of 5-6 children and they drew to their hearts content using crayons, and felt pens and plastic waste from segregation units in Dharavi which they were familiar with.
 
The workshop ended with some impromptu dancing and singing and after a few snacks and drinks the students received their passing out gifts from Katya teacher, the kids said their goodbyes and headed back to Dharavi to their waiting mothers and fathers to report on their magical day at the acorn workshop , before leaving one small girl with crayon marks on her face asked when the next class would take place.

Eye Clinic in Dharavi

The ACORN Foundations Dharavi Project conducted a successful eye clinic spread over 2 days in Dharavi ending on  9-01-10 where over 150 people had their eyes tested. Many of the Dharavi residents were testing their eyes for the first time, they received a complete eye check-up in the hands of a team of doctors and nurses, and were given free eye glasses from the Lotus Eye Hospital which conducted the eye clinic free of cost, the mobile eye clinic ambulance was made available from Impact India.
 
Some of the more serious cataract cases were referred by the doctors to other eye hospitals for free surgery. The mobile clinic was a much needed medical service and we witnessed long queues from 8 am onwards , two hours before the start of the clinic The clinic checked the  residents eyes,  and those who required high numbered lenses were told to collect their custom made eye glasses next week .
 


 
The committee members of the Dharavi Project Lakshmi, Rafiq,Sangita ,Fatima, Mangla , and other active members under the guidance of staff co-ordinator Anil Sawant  were the volunteers for the program. 

The same day we saw a visit from a International film crew of the National Geographic Channel  which is making a 50 minute documentary on Dharavi  featuring a segment on the Dharavi Project. The new year has begun on the right note, more next week on the waste matters project in 22 schools in Mumbai, which is distributing  bins to the schools this week, our members get to collect the dry waste in return for my training the school kids in waste management and screening Parasher Baruah’s documentary. This week also sees a day visit to our community by 30 students of the American school as part of the year long program in the school.


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