Urban, rural kids strive to bridge the divide

April 22nd, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) In a bid to bridge the urban-rural divide, share resources and experiences, over 400 school children from the city and different rural areas across the country gathered here for a unique three-day fun-filled interaction. The event, called Pratibimb, is an initiative of Delhi-based NGO Goonj, which works on the issue of resource mobilization.

A new feature at Pratibimb this year was the urban schools kids making presentations Tuesday on the problems in the rural set-up and their solutions, said Meenakshi Gupta of Goonj. The event was kicked off here Monday.

“We want the urban children to really understand the issues that their counterparts face in the rural set up. In this regard, we had a competition where the urban school kids chose an issue that they thought was most pressing in the rural set up and the solution that they propose,” Gupta told IANS.

“The rural children, among others, judged the competition because, after all, they are the best judge of the practicality of the solutions offered,” she added.

Therefore, when a child said that clean drinking water was an important issue in villages and offered building a well as a solution, rural kids shook their heads in disagreement. The high cost, they felt, was not taken into consideration while offering an answer.

But on the other hand, education for all, campaigning for the girl child and batting for cleanliness - the three most popular issues chosen by urban kids, were given a favourable nod by the little judges.

The presentations were, however, not through the multimedia but through traditional mediums like street plays and poster presentations, each of 10 minutes duration, in order to appeal to all.

As many as 300 school children from rural areas of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal participated in the event, an annual affair. Their urban counterparts came from 20 schools in Delhi.

“For most of the rural school kids, this was their first trip to the capital. Therefore trips to historical monuments like the Red Fort or the India Gate and to different children’s parks around were much appreciated,” Gupta said.

The kids from cities and rural areas had great fun while playing games like ‘dumb charades’, and singing and dancing together.

Goonj is now looking at inviting urban schools to develop strong bonds with two-three rural schools each in order to foster relationships of mutual care and understanding between the students as well as initiate resource mobilization.

“Each urban school has not less than 1,500-2,000 students while a rural school will not have more than a 100 kids. Therefore if each of the urban schools develops a bond with even two rural schools, it will bring smiles to scores of kids,” Gupta said.

By resource mobilization, Gupta means giving away unused or old (but in good condition) things like tiffin boxes, water bottles, books, clothes, mats and toys.

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