Educating children in order to create a sustainable future

By Johanna Lindgren, Linneaus University

In only four days we will leave Auroville, which makes me think of the strong impressions and good memories I will take with me when I go. During these four weeks we have met some wonderful people who are doing some extraordinary work for their society one way or another. These people work for a sustainable future, so that the coming generations will have a world in which they can live a happy and healthy life. One of these people is Srini at the Yatra Arts Foundation. He really made a strong impression on me and especially with the movie he made, together with others, on the subject of alcoholism.

The movie was about a young girl that lived with her two younger sisters and her alcoholic father. The mother had passed away, leaving the young girl to take care of her siblings. The girl worked every day taking care of goats, but her dream was to go to school. She watched the other children when they left for school and was sad when she had to do chores at home and go to work instead of being able to go with them. Her father was sitting on the front porch drinking and when he was not drinking he was passed out. Not only did the girl have to take care of her siblings, but also of her father. It was a really sad story. The father died in the end, leaving the three girls without a mother or a father. This had such a strong effect on me that I started crying right there amongst my fellow students and the people working at Yatra.

I highly appreciate the work that Srini and the organization are doing, trying to educate children and their parents about social issues using different forms of entertainment. Education through entertainment is called edutainment and is a widely known concept amongst development communication workers. Considering the effect it had on me, I think it has the power to have a strong effect on others.

If you look at the work of Srini and the Yatra Arts Foundation one must say that it is highly relevant in order to create a socially sustainable future, since the children are our future. If Srini is able to educate the children about alcoholism or waste management, for example, through his movies or street theater, this might create a change in the way the children think. The children might start saying no to plastic bags, to create less waste. If the children start saying no to plastic bags, then the parents might get influenced to do the same thing. If they watch a movie about alcoholism and see how badly it affects the people around the alcoholic they might not start drinking when they get older since they know about the problems it can create.

I wish that Srini and the Yatra Arts Foundation will keep up their good work, creating more edutainment around important issues. I also wish that their work will have a long lasting impression on people so that more people start taking small steps in the right direction. Lastly I wish that these small steps will turn into larger steps, in order to create a sustainable future.

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