Mumbai: Kids cycle across Vasai to get citizens to give up crackers
Guided by a recently formed NGO, children from underprivileged families are spreading awareness through their bicycles urging people to refrain from bursting crackers during Diwali
Dozens of children living in the Dambarplant slum in Vasai East have been undertaking bicycle rallies in their areas to spread awareness among citizens in an attempt to dissuade them from bursting firecrackers during Diwali.
The underprivileged children, who have been sensitised by a newly formed non-profit organisation, Sharan Foundation, have created handmade placards, affixed them to their bicycles and are peddling through market areas to convince citizens – especially children - to celebrate Diwali without the noisy, polluting firecrackers.
The children have been trained by Sharan Foundation chairperson Rakesh Parmar and his teams which have also been taking care of the education and well-being of these children.
"We have been taking care of the sustainable growth of these children. At present around 40 children have participated in the awareness programme and we ensure that the kids are protected against the pandemic. We make sure that they do not travel beyond 2-kilometre and that all of them wear facemasks," Parmar said.
"The children fall in the age group of 10 to 16 years," he added.
The messages on the placards read: 'Stop pollution', 'Say No to Fireworks', 'Your Plants Need you, say no to Fireworks', 'Say no crackers to save life', 'The lamp of love', 'Na dhoom na dhamaaka, iss baar no Patakha' and many more messages written in English and Hindi.
Though the children are very excited about spreading awareness among citizens, a few told mid-day that people often argue with them saying 'one person discarding firecrackers cannot bring about change.'
"I feel really good about educating people on the hazards of bursting firecrackers. Though most people have been welcoming our steps, there are a few who are adamant and say nothing will change if they burst one firecracker during Diwali," said Tannu Chauhan, who even managed to convince the adamant people to say no to crackers.
Ankita Goud, who is part of the group, said, "The smoke causes irritation in eyes as we have been told that firecrackers emanate smoke equivalent to the fumes of 500 lit cigarettes. So, if we don't burst firecrackers, we will save our environment from further decay."
Another child Sheetal Prajapati said, "We have been requesting people to say no to crackers this Diwali as it causes major inconvenience to citizens, especially ailing and ageing people, birds, animals and trees too."
"People burst crackers the whole night and stray dogs and birds get scared. We are requesting people to spread love and affection and discard crackers," said Swaraj Tiwari.
The group of children gathered at the Friday Market at Madhuban in Vasai East where they also performed a skit to educate people and received loud applause for their work.
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