RC South Asia
2008 Reports on Day of Prayer and Action for Children

India



A Day of Prayer and Action for Children organized at Dr.T.S.Soundaram Vidyalaya Matriculation School, Gandhigram.

Support Grant Project- Brook
No of Participants – 140 Children 
Organiser - Mrs.R.Kalpana
Programme Schedule
Time: 10.a.m. to 330.p.m.

Interfaith prayer : By children 
Welcome Address by Ms.M.Grijia,Principal of Soundaram Vidyalaya. 
Special address by Asst... Superintendent of Children’s Home Mrs.K.Pandiammal 
Special Session on Child Rights – Ms.K.S.Neela, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Dindigul Dist. 
(Tea Break)

Group Activities by Students, Group singing, and Creative Activities.
(Lunch Break)

Group Activities – Continued 
Group Presentation by Children. 
Shramadan – Cleaning the school campus and tree plantation.. 
Forming a Circle – Closing remarks by Children 
Vote of Thanks – Mr.V.Karupaiah 
Gandhigram Song 
National Antham
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A Day of Prayer and Action for Children

Mrs.R.Kalpana

Theme: The Right to Free Expression.

Introduction

As an organizer, my day began with laughter and ended with tears of joy, when I observed the dedication and love among the children of Dr.T.S.Soundaram Vidyalaya. on 20th November 2008, celebrated in many parts of the World as Inter-national Children’s Day. Ganita a simple and energetic, 8th std student of Dr.T..S.Soundaram Vidyalaya said “It was a day different from other days, I have studied in this school since the last eight years from L.KG to 8th standard- today was the Children’s Day which I enjoyed the most, we wish programmes like this are organized once in a month”.

I am grateful to Mr.M.Sundaresan, Coordinator of GNRC-India and Dr.Vinu Aram, Director Shanti Ashram, Coimbatore for having given me this opportunity of organizing the Day of Prayer and Action. I am also grateful to Prof. M.Velusamy, Correspondent of Soundaram Vidyalaya for permitting me to organize a Day of Prayer and Action in their school. I express my sincere gratitude to all the teachers and staff members of Dr.T.S.Soundram Vidyalaya and all my friends who cooperated in making this programme successful. Around 140 Children study in this school. They come from different villages within a radius of ten kilometers. Students of L.K.G to 8th std participated in this programme.

Inter-Religious Prayer

The programme started at 10 a.m.. with an inter-religious prayer led by the students. Inter-religious prayer is practiced regularly in this school. Ms.M.Girija, Principal of the school presented a warm welcome highlighting on the importance of the day. The Asst. Superintendent of Children’s Home, Ms.K.Pandiammal inspired the students by narrating some interesting incidents about Dr.T.S. Soundaram who along with Dr.G.Ramachandran established Gandhigram in the year 1945.

Special Session on Child-Rights

Ms.K.S.Neela, Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Dindigul District, conducted the special session on Child Rights. She tried to create a feeling of empathy and responsibility within the children by allowing them to enact about the children who were deprived of primary education, balanced diet, parental affection and health care. She composed many songs spontaneously and allowed the children to sing and dance.

Ms.K.S.Neela specially contributed in composing a song in Tamil on the concept of Brook joining to form a stream; stream leading to make a River and River flowing into the Sea which joins an Ocean. 

Group Singing and Story Telling

Children enjoyed learning some patriotic songs in Hindi and English; which were taught by me, the organizer of this programme,. Students from each class also presented some songs and stories which were both educative and entertaining. Mr.S.Jayachandran of the Value Education Project, Department of Adult Continuing Education and Extension, Gandhigram Rural University, inspired the children by advising them on inculcating good values.

Group Activity/Workshop on Ethics Education- Theme – Free Expression

Children were divided into eight groups, namely, Group Black, Group Blue, Group Brown, Group Dark Green, Group Light Green, Group Orange, Group Red and Group Violet. Each group leader was given colored marker pen according to the name of the group. The children of each group were asked to reflect individually and also collectively. Each group was given different charts. Each child was given a piece of paper and some colour pens and crayons. Therefore, collectively there were eight charts and about 100 papers. Each child was allowed to express his/her feeling through drawing and writing. 

The charts represented what the groups had gathered from the session on Child Rights. The single sheets represented the spontaneous feeling of each child through drawing. I viewed this session, as the session of Free Expression. The Right to Free Expression is one of the basic rights of the child. The child from his early age is deprived of his right to express freely due to parental and societal control. 

Learning without competitions

The above session was not a competition or contest. Each child enjoyed the equal privilege. No one expected any special prize. The special prize for them was that they were permitted to express freely. It was amazing how the children expressed their understanding on the Rights of children.

Teachers and parents can learn a lot from the charts that the children had prepared. These charts expressed concern for nature, environment and every living being. We could learn that the child’s mind is a store-house of wisdom. The seed of non-violence can be nurtured within a child when he learns to grow in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competition. According to many philosophers; and from my own experience I understand that the root cause of violence is competition that creates jealousy and mistrust. It is sad that the educationists have failed to understand this concept and most of the educational institutions, teachers and parents are encouraging competition among children. Let us think deeply on this issue. 

Shramdhan (Tree Plnatation)

Later on in the afternoon children were excited to plant trees. These trees would provide shade and create a greener environment in their school premises. Every child felt responsible of taking care of the plants. Thanks to Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Gandhigram for donating the saplings.

Human-Chain

After the tree plantation the children formed a human chain by forming a circle. They sang some patriotic songs and made an inner pledge for unity and strength. I could feel a choking sensation in my throat and tears of joy flowing on my checks. I could visualize the unity between freedom and discipline. To be truly free we have to be disciplined through three jewels which are love, honesty and perseverance. These three jewels may enable a child to develop Empathy, Responsibility, Respect and Reconciliation. This is my learning after organizing the Day of Prayer and Action for Children. 

Mr.V.Karrupaiah of Soundaram Vidyalaya while delivering the vote of thanks emphasized that the organizer’s intention was to instill not only love for their mother land but for the entire world by understanding the unity in diversity.


Report by
Mrs. R. Kalpana, Researcher, Social Worker and Member, Core Team, India Ethics Promoting Campaign
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