Students show that creative design, coupled with compassion, can be a strong force for good.
Contributed By Annie Wong
If you still think children are meant to be seen and not heard, you have not met these children. On Nov. 12, 80 teams of students aged 9 to 14 from local schools presented their ideas at the Be The Change Exposition held at *SCAPE, Orchard Link, which ran the gamut from how to enrich family relationships to how to exercise greater stewardship toward the environment.
The organizer, SoCH in Action, is a social enterprise that creates opportunities for children, youth and adults to be involved in social change through peer-to-peer learning and interactive methods. The Be The Change Exposition is a dedicated forum where students get to share their initiatives with other schools, children, teachers and parents, while learning.
Through the Design for Change School Challenge 2011 which was launched earlier this year in March, students learned to explore the issues faced in their immediate and extended surroundings, identify possible solutions and implement one-week action plans in accordance with this year’s theme—“Choose One Idea: One Week and Change Many Lives!” They were then required to document the process and the impact of their work. The students were mentored by their school teachers as they worked to complete their projects over a period of three to five months.
To deepen the engagement of students and enable them to come up with more good ideas and executable strategies, SoCH in Action also introduced a workshop module called CatCh (Catalyst for Change) that equipped participating students with skills to creatively design and implement solutions.
Some of the winning projects include “iPulley Is For Life” by 14-year-olds from Greendale Secondary School, which featured a prototype of a piece of equipment that helps the elderly to exercise their limbs safely. The iPulley has been tested by 15 elderly participants and has received positive response.
Another project, “Smile For The Cleaners” by students from Raffles Institution, launched a movement of thoughtfulness. Profiles of the school cleaners were displayed around the school compound to invoke appreciation for those who keep their school clean.
A total of 520 students, teachers and parents attended the exposition at *SCAPE.
“I feel very happy to be able to contribute to the society,” said Logan Kirubakaran, a Primary 5 student from Boon Lay Garden Primary School who spearheaded a movement for his peers to connect with their parents. “Many of my schoolmates said that their relationship with their parents have improved after they folded hearts and wrote messages to their parents. More than 250 pupils in my school took part in this.”
While Madhu Verma, the founder of SoCH in Action, felt that more can be done by parents to encourage their children’s participation in non-academic activities such as these, she was satisfied with this year’s response and turnout. The social entrepreneur said that watching the children “being empowered by the whole program,” and the passion and conviction invested into the work they had done, made it worth the effort.
Find out more about SoCH In Action at www.sochinaction.com