Conserve Natural India

Sustainable Development in Northern India

Inspiring kids to clean their environment

Last Sunday, our neighbor Nancy got married. As with all Indian weddings, it was a huge party located in the field in front of our house and these weddings can be a bit messy! After the party, the field was full of polyester plates and after two days, there was no change.

Kids from the neighborhood came a couple of times in front of our gate and asked several times to spend time with us, so we had an idea:
Why not used these young minds to clean the space and teach them recycling on the same occasion?
So, we created two days  of activities.

On the first day, we showed them how we recycle in the Dholbaha intern house: paper that can be burned, plastic and glass bottles, food waste, and plastics. We are using several old cement bags to separate the waste so that we can then give the recyclables to the migrant trash pickers.
We encouraged the village children to collect the trash around the field in a “competition style” and separating between plastic foam plates and paper. Most of them believed that plastic could be burned, so we educated them on the toxicity of the fumes plastic causes when burned. We showed them how littering is a bad habit with several pictures, beautifully clean of litter, from the magazine “Geo”.

To motivate them, we made teams and gave a chocolate bars to each of the 6 participants: 60 rupees spent, their awareness increased and a cleaner area. We also gave them cotton reusable bags to give to their parents. These bags can then be used to carry vegetables when they are buying from the grocery store.

The kids were really happy to be involved in our waste management activity and they asked for more!
So we planned to continue cleaning the area on the following evening.

On the second day on the field, there was still a significant amount of foam plates and we decided to organize another competition between them in teams: the team with the bigger bag wins – simple!  So for ten minutes, kids were running around and picking up the trash enthusiastically. The results were surprising:  the youngest were the most efficient! They really all did a good job.

After cleaning and rewarding each of them with praise after the amicable competition, we played with them for a couple of minutes. We are now considering creating more educational activities with these kids in the late afternoon.

That's a lot of trash! Just shows what a little fun, inspiration and motivation can accomplish. It doesn't hurt that these are some really great kids!

That’s a lot of trash! Just shows what a little fun, inspiration and motivation can accomplish. It doesn’t hurt that these are some really great kids!

After the game, ConservEN intern Katrina explained to the kids the importance of waste management..

Even if the field still needs continual cleaning, the kids are really enthusiastic about these kinds of activities and are really looking for more knowledge and discoveries regarding these particular issues!
Many village people saw us leading these activities. It looked a bit weird to them at first but our neighbors were really glad that we helped them with cleaning!

By Adrien Calvez-Petit

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2013 by in SWASH-Waste Management.
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