Being the Change – The Story of 12 Children Transforming a Village

When it is no longer about me and us, but about the world.
This is a story about how a small group of 12 children have begun transforming a little village – in their own small way.
And that small group of children are our students from Grade 5.
And the village is where the school is located – Mudalipalayam.

Students of Grade 5 were searching for an idea for their project. It started with a Tree House for the school and so on. Finally they decided it would be meaningful to clean the mountain of garbage that lay on their way to school. When they went to the place they realised that behind the garbage mountain was the corporation school which almost was hidden from the road. And children had to wade through it to reach their school. They also visited the school, met the children, and the headmistress. Their plight moved them. They spent a few weeks talking to the panchayat, the president, the village elders, etc. And they realised that nothing would come out of all this unless they took the matter into their own hands.

They first raised money, 13,800 rupees, during the sports day. They started talking to JCB Vendors, inviting Ravindran Uncle from RAAC to the school, and really began moving Mountains.
The day came when the JCB actually came and it took several hours to clear the garbage that has been deposited for many years. They then brought new soil and laid it there. What is most fascinating about the story is this – They realised after the work was done, that is not a lasting solution. If they did not work with the villagers, soon there will be a new mountain of trash.

They then planned a way to educate the villagers so that there is a sustainable solution.
Accompanied by parent volunteers, RAAC volunteers and the children of the village, they went into the village with the accompaniments of some drums and music, house by house, campaigning about waste management.They would have covered over 150 houses in the village.

The children invited the villagers for a Thiruvizha they were hosting.
The village temple would have seen many Thiruvizhas. But perhaps never something like this one – a hundred smiling faces of children from many walks of life – some from the village around, some who studied in the corporation school, and some from Yellow Train who had dreamt of this Thiruvizha and executed it.

It was a very moving experience for the villagers that a group of 12 children who did not belong here had taken the initiative to clean their village. The village elders were invited to plant trees where the mountain of garbage once stood and it was a very moving experience for all of them. Later the volunteers painted the walls of the school with a huge tree bearing lots of flowers.

What a treat it would have been for the little children who walked into their school on Monday morning like every other day. Except that from that day things were different. They did not need to wade through the mountain of garbage holding their noses. Instead, there were some flowers welcoming them each morning.

What a possibility these 12 children have gifted hundreds of their fellow children. Many adults present were muttering that if 12 children can do this, what groups of adults could do the community and world around them.

May the muttering grow in to voices, louder voices, action and lasting change.

Watch this film to see their experience.
This film is dedicated to the children of Class 5 who were being the Change they wanted to see.

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