Diwali with a Difference


On the joyous occasion of diwali, eight youngsters decided to light up the faces of children in a few villages in Maharashtra who struggle for electricity on a daily basis. Shreyashi dasgupta reports


When other kids of their age are thinking of lighting crackers, getting new clothes and enjoying the festival, group of eight schoolchildren thought differently. These class 8 students of Cathedral and John Connon School - Suveer Daswani, Arjun Kochhar, Karan Khurana, Latisha Shah, Leesha Shah, Saakshi Daswani, Anandita Parekh and Devika Kapadia - call themselves the SOLAR (Save Our Land and Rise) group and they have decided to travel to different villages and donate solar lanterns. They are gifting underprivileged village children these eco-friendly lamps such that their homes are lit up this Diwali. After all, isn't Diwali the season of gifting?

The group carried out some very primary research and observed that students in far off villages in Maharashtra can't study in the evenings due to lack of electricity. Arjun Kochhar, the treasurer of SOLAR says, "Our cause is to fight against global warming, help underprivileged kids and also support education. Our school promoted this awareness by encouraging us to save our environment. To support the cause, I also save electricity at home and keep track of my electricity bill. During my summer vacation, I volunteered for Salaam Baalak Trust and learnt about the difficulties in the lives of the lesser privileged."

Talking about the innovative idea Saakshi Daswani says, "We took our first step with Diwali, which is the season of light and joy. Our focus is to spread happiness among many other children like us. Our team will reach out to villages and distribute solar lanterns. These lanterns work on both solar energy and electricity. To make them interesting, the lanterns are also equipped with radios. They are fun to use."

Arjun also told us about the funds required to procure these lanterns. He says, "We visited institutions, corporates, NGOs and other individuals with a presentation on global warming and information on our project and asked for their support. So far the response has been great."

Saakshi adds, "We work on this project after our school hours. We make plans to visit new corporate houses with our proposal. Itís been a great journey and we intend to continue this work."

Talking about the campaign Latisha feels, "As a privileged person I feel it's my right to contribute back to society in whatever way I can. This is our step towards a better environment and society."

Suveer rounds it off saying, "A small body of determined spirits, fired by unquenchable faith can alter the course of history."

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