Many children in rural schools come from poor families and are sometimes accustomed to getting help from someone or other. Most of the times it becomes a natural expectation in them that their needs might just be fulfilled by someone doing charity work.
When I speak to children in villages here, they tell me " Miss when we grow up, we will help many in our lives". I always admire the enthusiasm and honesty in their voices but without proper guidance and understanding these voices will fade in passing time.
During this notebooks drive one of our intent was to make children aware of their own attitude to help others.
Cracking two important myths was the core of all interactions with children:
- Only grown-ups help others, children cannot do much
- Only rich people are capable of doing charity work / social service etc.
We encouraged children to cultivate the attitude to help others primarily by being considerate to others. By thinking inclusively of the "others" they can surely identify simple things that they can do to help others.
Over time perhaps even realize that helping others gives great inner joy. Hence it is not about "others", it becomes a matter of the "self" and "Ananda".
"Seva Paramo Dharma" can then be understood and realized too.
Illustrating simple examples helped them grasp the point.
For instance: when you sit in your bench, make sure that others sitting with you are also having comfortable space. This does not take money. You need not be an adult to do this.
In fact how common it is to see grown-ups fighting for seat space in buses and trains. :)
At some places the message resonated with children, some of them were excited and fascinated to look at "helping" in this way.
I am happy to share that a few local newspapers have published the essence of the event apart from stating that 6000 notebooks were distributed to children across Kyasamballi Hobli, covering 4 clusters with 53 government schools. Here is the gist of one such article.
( One need not be rich or grown up to offer help. To help someone in need or to do any suitable charity work, all that is needed is an attitude to serve.)