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Global Citizenship Program

Our Global Citizenship program helps students understand global issues and enables them to address real world challenges in practical ways. It was initiated by Ms.Geetha Muthiah, the school director with the intention of translating the vision of the school into action – Educate individuals to become compassionate, responsible global citizens and contribute towards sustainable development.

As part of the program, students of the school from grades VI to XII spend 1 hour every week on projects of their choice – chosen from themes connected to the UN sustainable development goals. During the academic year 2018-19, students worked towards achieving zero waste in school. The aim is to move from school to homes to the community.

Some of the broad themes and the outcomes are listed below:

Waste Management- Waste is segregated into dry and wet waste. The wet waste is composted, the dry waste is upcycled every where possible. An intuitive waste segregation bin has been designed by the students. A few prototypes have been strategically placed to test the model. The wet waste is being composted by students. They tested out 5 models of composting – roller bin, pit, kambha, wooden crate and plastic drum – to see what will work best for the school. Students have begun the process at their homes as well. The school support staff has been trained so that the process is sustainable. Students have now moved onto campaigning in the community, their first campaign was in a neighbouring apartment. Next they plan to work with local residents associations and the corporation to address the waste management issues in the neighbourhood.

Wet Waste Management

Dry Waste Management

Community Engagement

Upcycling – The upcycling teams are making hand-made paper with all the paper generated in the school premises. They have made pen stands with old trophy boxes and covered it with school uniform bits. They have also learnt to make ‘dhonnai’ from badam and mandaram leaves and supplied it to the school canteen and during school events. The coconut shells generated in the school kitchen have been upcycled into various products like wind chimes, incense holders etc. The upcycling team are also working on sustainable menstrual products. They have sourced cloth pad making kits from eco femme in Pondicherry and are stitching them. They want to change their own practices, campaign for sustainable menstrual practices in their school and community. The students are also working on giving these to the students of Kumara Raja government school nearby to convince them also to adopt the cloth pad practice. This will address the affordability and hygiene issues those girls are facing. Eventually, they want to teach those students to make their own cloth pads.

Good Health and Well Being – A group of students are working on good health and well being. As a part of this, they have evaluated their own fitness levels (12 min run, plank, shuttle run, BMI). They moved onto doing fitness tests for the rest of the school and then parents, teachers and support staff. A 21 day fitness challenge was extended to the parent community during sports day. This included physical, social, emotional and nutritional challenges. A mega fitness event conducted received excellent feedback from the extended community. Students organized healthy food and fireless cooking sessions and compiled a healthy recipe booklet and a fitness challenge calendar to further promote their cause.

Community Fitness

Food and Agriculture – The ‘Food and Agriculture’ group have grown spinach and other vegetables in school and they have also put up a vertical garden with plastic bottles. The compost generated in school is used by this group. The students created a DIY instructional booklet on growing a vertical garden and are now working on setting up similar gardens in the community. A visit to an actual farm and experiencing the activities first hand reinforced their learning and presented the larger picture.

Energy Conservation – The energy conservation group conducted energy audits within the school premises. They interviewed people from different sections of society to better understand consumption patterns and also learnt to read electricity bills. Following which, they worked on switch board mapping in the common areas of the school to reduce the current wasted. This technique assists in the non-usage of unnecessary lights and fans in large spaces.

Water Conservation – The water conservation groups conducted water audits in various spaces to understand the flow rate of water. Following which, they worked on making prototypes of aerators to control the water flow and also did flush tank optimization by low cost methods. They also made seed balls which they distributed to the primary grade students during a school event.

Literacy and Education – The students working on ‘Education for All’ conducted a book drive in school, more than 1500 books were collected. The members of the school student council worked on identifying suitable recipients for these books. They were distributed to various deserving corporation schools in Chennai and also a flood affected school in Kerala.

Hunger and Poverty – A group of students working on Hunger and Poverty addressed food wastage in the school and community. Campaigns were conducted among primary students to reiterate the message and students did a data analysis of the food being wasted in the school dining hall. Simple measures were taken following the data analysis and the school support staff were also oriented on how serving sizes can be reduced on certain days. They participated in ‘Daan Utsav’ – India’s festival of giving  and also worked with ‘Ayyamittu Unn’, the community fridge NGO, in various locations in the city where excess unused food is redistributed to the needy.

Our older students engage periodically with our primary grade students through assemblies and class campaigns to communicate the message of sustainability among them.

We also conducted a civic and environmental problem solving workshop in school ‘Hari Shree Hackathon’. It was conducted by our global citizenship partner, Reap Benefit, an organization that works towards building the next generation of problem solvers. As a part of this our students developed many innovative prototypes like smart sensor taps and showers that can detect water flow, optimized flush tanks, smart walking stick for the blind etc.

A final sustainability project exhibition was organized where all the different groups got to present their work and sell their projects to the parent and extended community. The highlight was the workshops conducted by the students to the visitors on making paper bags, eco-friendly ‘cups and plates with leaves’, hand made paper and cloth pad stitching. Notable residents working on environmental issues also attended the event, motivated the children and are now giving the students real time guidance and opportunities to make a difference outside school.

 

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