Children are the present, not the future
As we passed the entrance gates of the Elementary School in Lilapur, we were told to sit on the plastic chairs under the shade. What a relief! Until that moment, it felt as if I were taking a bath with sweat instead of clean water. I was dripping all of the water I had previously drank and sand was sticking to my hot skin. My nostrils were also happy, if that is possible. Since our arrival to this village, all I could smell was cow poop, but now some fresh air was finally available. Thankfully, I was not alone. Looking around, I noticed that the other Niswarth members were in the same position. How touching! Soon after we took our seat, boys and girls wearing uniforms sat in rows on the yellow and sandy ground in front of us. The boys had blue pants and a pink shirt, while the girls wore a blue skirt and vest, with a pink shirt underneath. The students were all barefoot as they were coming from indoors, where shoes should not be worn. The children all had big smiles glued to their faces and their eyes inspected us carefully while they repeated phrases after a coordinator. Even though I do not know Gujarati, it was easy for me to notice that these sentences were very funny. The boys and girls laughed with their high pitch voices and their eyes shone like jewels as they followed the coordinators gestures and words. These kids were truly full of energy and love. They were also so curious about who we were, that during the free time they circled around us. They were very eager to learn more about who we were and, of course, they wanted us to teach them some games. With two other Niswarth students, I taught a group of boys how to play ‘Rock, Paper, Scissor, Shot!’ The fact that we didn’t speak the same language was, of course, an obstacle, but we were able to face it with the help of the coordinators who spoke some English and by using our hands. This moment really made me reflect on the different ways of communication and made me realize how effective using hands can be to share information with others.
They are the product of two people, the collectors of their neighbors wisdom. They have many characteristics and are unique in every which way. They are children. As the Lilapur villagers said, they are not only the future, but also the present. When a coordinator told us this statement today, he had an example proving this correct. The ‘Service to Change’ was started by children. In a short period of time, this group was able to make significant changes in many different areas, ranging from sports, to education, and to health. Still today, the members of this group are very young. Currently, a few children around my age (15 years) are training to join this group. If I think about it very carefully, this mentality is very different from the one in America or in Europe. There it is always said that we, the young generations, are the future. We train our whole life to become this “ideal” citizen, but why do we have to hide behind these masks? Why can’t we be the generations of the future AND of the present? Just because we are young and don’t have as many years of experience as others, it does not mean that we are unfamiliar or unable to contribute to society in a positive way. Actually, as us children have wider range of imagination and creativity, we could contribute by giving ideas and by thinking in a completely unique way. As the Riverside School alumni told us while presenting the ‘Design for Change Project’, EVERYONE can do it!