STORY PREVIEW

2018

Creating An Urban Oasis

Centre Point School Katol Road

Maharashtra

MENTOR

Kshama Yadav

STUDENTS

Anushka Agrawal ,

Kiara Patel,

Jigisha Shivdasani,

Jui Jagtap,

Eshan Sarda,

Step 1 FEEL

The problems we faced in our surroundings for which we felt strongly that some appropriate action should be taken are- 1) Traffic congestion, which resulted- a. in delays to reach school b. compromised waiting space for students at school dispersal time 2) Soil erosion in the immediate locality 3) Wastage of food 4) Scarcity of playing area 5) Noise pollution 6) A nearby park was lying abandoned for a long time.This place was being misused to carry out antisocial activities . Also this area had become a dumping ground for the garbage. The wandering cattle would also frequently dirty the place.

We chose to improve the condition of the park. This is because we felt this would have a multilevel benefit. Prominent ones being- A) The area can be used by school children at the time of school dispersal. This would be safer than waiting on the road side till the arrival of their means of transport. B) The area can be used by morning walkers and yoga practitioners in the morning time . C) A properly fenced area would help to avoid any unwanted antisocial activity. D) Beautification of a prime location would add to the aesthetics of the locality. E) The available place can be used as a platform to display social messages to bring awareness amongst public. Realizing that if we work on this project, it would not only help to resolve our problem it would also be beneficial for the people in the nearby area. Moreover this would be a small contribution from students and school towards society and environment.

The people affected by the problem were- 1. The passersby 2. The neighborhood residents. 3. The morning walkers. Their primary concerns were: 1. Unhygienic and dirty garden. 2. Fear of attack by stray dogs. Wandering cattle would pose risk to the moving traffic. 3. Unwanted and antisocial activities.

Step 2 IMAGINE

1. The first step could be just to raise a red flag with the municipal authorities, regarding the maintenance and upkeep of the park. 2.The second option was the students get actively involved and carry out the development of the park, as the solution to all the above mentioned problems.

As stated above development of the park with the involvement of students and school, seemed to be a good idea to us, as it would benefit a diverse range of public. For example: 1. The properly developed park would provide a quiet and a peaceful environment for senior citizens, morning walkers and auto-rickshaw drivers. 2. A safe waiting area for students. 3. This project would help to instill a sense of belonging towards environment among students i.e. teaching them through action. 4. The people in the locality would be happy as the abandoned park would get a face lift. 5. This would also minimize the unwanted activities .

Step 3DO

To implement the above solution the steps taken up were- 1.Seeking permission from the concerned authorities-Vanrai and NMC, to start working at a public place. 2.Clearing of the place of all the unwanted weeds. 3. Leveling of the ground. 4. Fencing of the triangular shaped garden, with gates on two sides. 5) Walking track to be made of bricks. 6) Planting of trees in a planned manner. &)Basic landscaping to be done 7) Painting of rectangular iron boards by students, with social messages on them. 8) Formation of 'Green Squad', comprising of DFC volunteers ,who will not only implement the project but will also take care of the park in a sustained manner.This to be achieved by mobilizing others to take proactive steps to take care of their environment and be a part of ecological system, rather than only being the guardians of the system.

The impacts which were observed were- 1. When we interviewed the regular morning visitors of the area, we got a remarkable response from them. Senior citizens in particular were very happy with the space created. 2. The residents of the area also mentioned that this has helped to curb unwanted activities in the park area. 3. School children got a safe waiting area. 4. Social awareness is spread through the hand painted boards with messages on sustainable management of the environment. 5. The hands -on activities done by the students created a sense of responsibility towards environment. 6. Yoga practitioners started using the garden area , as it is neat and clean. Earlier they used the footpath for their exercise regime. 7. General aesthetics of the place has improved.

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1. One resident of the locality said, "The students are doing a great job as this will create a good place for senior citizens to sit and relax. The unwanted activities will also automatically be controlled. Good job done." 2. A few senior citizens mentioned that it is a very good move by the students. Students at a very tender age are getting sensitized towards the environment, so the future of the country seems to be bright.

The challenges faced by students were- 1.The monsoon and heavy rains in our city stalled the work for more than 20 days. 2. In spite of the permission and clearances taken from the local authorities,different personnel from the same department time and again enquired about the work being done. The strikingly sad irony of the situation was that for as long as the park was lying abandoned, no one came to think about it. But as soon as the results of the efforts taken by students started to show, everyone wanted to share the credit. But the morale of the students never dipped. They continued to work with all their enthusiasm

MORE THAN 30 DAYS

Sustainable cities and communities

We as citizens of the world, should learn to take care of our immediate surroundings and the next tier surroundings also. To manage the resources available to us, it's very important that our next generation is trained to think on these lines. Adopting an abandoned area and converting it into an area which can be utilized by people from different walks of life is a major step towards community living. Becoming a part of the ecology of an area and feeling responsible for the work done by us is a small step, though a great achievement towards sustainable cities.

Step 4 SHARE

We shared our project with- 1.The school by enrolling the authorities of school towards our cause. This helped in arranging the required funds for the project. 2. The idea was discussed with the people sitting outside the park in the morning hours. They were glad to see the transformation. Earlier the park area was foul smelling and filled with rubbish. 3. The passersby were very glad to guide the students and give ideas about beautification . 4. We shared our project with concerned authorities like-VANRAI and NMC. They were happy to know that the citizens specially school children are taking keen interest in protecting the environment. 5. The project was shared on various social media platforms, such as facebook, whatsapp groups. 6. Pictures of the work done by students were shared in the school news letters. Collage was put up on the school notice board. 7. Announcements related to the work done by the students was announced in the school assembly.

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The 'Green Squad', comprising of DFC volunteers, few teachers and the local beneficiaries will be given the responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness and upkeep of the park. For the proper functioning of the body, an administrative team of students headed by teachers will be formed. Following endeavors will help to take the project ahead: 1) Bird houses and water pots will be put up to restore the ecology of the park. This will be especially helpful in the intense heat of summers of the region. 2) Mentioning botanical names on the trees. 3) Display area for the sculptures made by the students. 4) Safe area for holding 'Nukkad natak' to create social awareness. 5)The project is in sync with the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan'.