Friday, 23 September 2011

It All Began In The Mountains...

The Jamyang School is one of the educational institutions that Tara Trust supports in Leh, Ladakh, the northern most part of India.

We had a team of  volunteers who were travelling to Leh in May and June of this year, to work with the children on some art workshops. During the discussion of the format of the workshop, the volunteers wanted to conduct an exercise of environmental awareness amongst the children, especially since some of these children were also witness to the Earthquake that occurred in Ladakh in 2008. That’s when Dr. Katharina, the founder of Tara Trust, mentioned the Fukushima disaster.
She had been following up on the devastation that had been caused first due to the earthquake and tsunami and the because of the blast in the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and had a wish to do something for the children suffering from this disaster in Japan. It was while she was reading all the various articles being written about the danger from the Fukushima nuclear plant, she fell upon the story of Sadako Sasaki and the 1000 paper cranes. The volunteers and she, then tried to connect it all, and work on a project to show their solidarity for peace and hope in Japan.
But, then the question was - How do we do pass this message to the children in Japan?
Someone said “We shall make the children paint cards with peace messages.”
Some others said “Let’s send them paper cranes ! But what will they do with the cranes?”
“Let’s Paint T-shirts ! Yes! Let’s Paint A 1000 T-shirts like Sadako made a 1000 paper cranes!” said Dr.Katharina. She said “It will be a wonderful gesture, if our children paint T-shirts with pictures of Cranes and write their peace messages on it, and we will find a way of sending it to Japan. “
And that is how it all started.

The volunteers conducted a wonderful project teaching the children about natural disasters and nuclear energy. This group of children who otherwise don’t have any exposure to the outside world apart from television, found it very interesting to learn about other places, about environmental issues, new cultures and new people.
We then also conducted another workshop with children of another NGO in New Delhi called Udayan Care, who also loved the idea and we excited about the painting exercise.  We have also conducted a short workshop with children of the Loyola School for The Marginalised, Margao, here the enthusiasm was so much that they made a 6 ft large collage of a Crane on canvas, and wrote their messages around.

And, so, began the journey and aim of painting a 1000 T-shirts as our message of peace and solidarity for the children in Japan, just like Sadako Sasaki and her friends make a 1000 paper cranes to spread the message of peace and hope in the world, in 1955.

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