STORY PREVIEW

2018

Be the change for the dead too!

yuvabharathi public school

Tamil Nadu

MENTOR

geetha jayachandran

STUDENTS

Akshay Balaji S,

Neha Julius Pannalal,

Preethika D,

Sharon Sam,

Sri Varshinee,

Step 1 FEEL

Every single day we see people suffering from various issues: 1. Poverty and resulting drop outs – Many students are not able to continue their studies beyond grade 12 due to lack of funds. They join any blue collar job in order to support their families. They end up as unskilled laborers. 2. Our area faces man-animal conflict (wild elephant menace) as the elephant corridors are occupied by institutions and companies. 3. Lack of proper waste disposal system and lack of awareness regarding the same is very much affecting the areas near our school and neighbourhood. 4. Water clogging and resulting flooding of roads during monsoons and unprecedented rains is another problem which is a result of lack of proper drainage system. 5. Lonely elders living in our neighbouring areas who have no one to help them during their sickness or death

We have chosen to create awareness to attend the unclaimed dead bodies and giving a proper burial for them . It is our social responsibility to take care of our fellow beings- alive or dead. There are many organizations to take care of the people who are suffering but what about the people who die/ whose death is uncared for. We often come across the news about unclaimed bodies as the result of accidents and poverty. It can’t be dismissed as random and rare. Someone somewhere should stand up for these unclaimed dead bodies too for their decent funeral. Awareness is the first step for taking action. We should sensitize the public regarding this issue.

We may say that “No one is affected” or the society is blind to this issue. Around 50 unclaimed bodies are received by each reputed big hospital per year. Worldwide a significant number of unclaimed dead bodies are received by the hospitals and they find it difficult to clear them from mortuaries. The problem is that the majority of our society does not know the plight of these bodies or do not care for their last rites. It is also our duty to give a decent burial or funeral to the unclaimed bodies.If there is an organization that could help us to address this issue, we need to help them by word, deed and seed (money). We should connect the organization with the general public.

Step 2 IMAGINE

1. Doing a poster campaign inside the campus 2. Doing word of mouth campaign among interact club members and others 3. Inviting members of Thozhar Trust to make a speech on unclaimed dead bodies and our social responsibility 4. Conducting an assembly on this theme and staging a play to spread the awareness 5. Collecting money from our family members, neighbours and acquaintances and donating them to the trust

When we listed our solutions, our Principal suggested doing all the above. We decided to do poster campaign, word of mouth campaign, conduct a special assembly, invite Thozhar trust founders to give a speech and collect money for the trust in the same sequence.

Step 3DO

We formed a core group and had an action plan for implementation of the solution. We visited Thozhar trust and got information regarding their service and took notes. We created posters based on this issue. We met our Class teacher Ms. Subashini and got the screen play for the drama. We spoke to our friends and started the word of mouth campaign and asked them to tell their neighbours to contact Thozhar trust if they happen to know about unclaimed dead body. We collected money from among us. We conducted the special assembly on ‘Being Human- How our help is needed by others even after death’ and staged the play ‘The cry of a silent body’. All classes from 6 to 12 attended the assembly and were spell bound by the message conveyed by our play. Many were moved to tears when the Founders of the trust gave a speech on their service.

We donated the money we had collected to the Founders of the trust. Many teachers congratulated us on the bold theme we had chosen. Few members of staff have started to support the trust financially. Our school teachers and friends assure us that they will inform Thozar trust if they come to know about any unclaimed body and do help them financially too.Students too have decided to help them in the long run through our interact club activity.As a result of this awareness drive we formed a committee to coordinate between Thozhar trust and our acquaintances. We have collected an amount more than 17,000 for Thozhar Trust after our awareness program.

1000

One of the students said, “The way I look at accident victims and lonely elders has changed completely. I am looking forward to helping them to find their kith and kin. I will tell about this issue to my parents and relatives too”. One of the members of the staff said that she had heard about such services but never thought that she will have acquaintance with one, to help them substantially. Our assembly and guest speakers have enabled her to reach out to the unspoken. One teacher was awe-inspired to know that women volunteers and trans-genders are performing the last rites of the unclaimed bodies by breaking the taboo.

A. Social stigma surrounding the theme- the plight of unclaimed dead bodies is very strange B. Our age group is very young for the task we have undertaken. Many said that we are precocious for this project C. Though the aim was creating awareness and consequent action in the long run, immediate effects are not very concrete and are not measureable. The above were overcome by the encouragement and motivation given by our Principal Ms. Geetha Jayachandran, our teachers and parents. Their support enabled us to take this project forward. Thozhar Trust founders too encouraged our gestures.

MORE THAN 30 DAYS

Reduced inequalities

To reduce inequality, we should pay attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised populations. Inclusion has to be promoted actively, in social spheres, for all ages, sexes, races, religions and ethnicities to create conditions of equity. In this project, we are breaking the clutches of poverty by giving decent burial to the unclaimed dead bodies. There is inclusion in this noble gesture. Women volunteers and trans-genders are performing the last rites of the unclaimed bodies by breaking the social taboo. All the communities join hands in helping the trust to perform last rites of the unclaimed bodies irrespective of religion, ethnicity, caste or creed.

Step 4 SHARE

We shared the theme of our project and its impact with the school community through posters, word of mouth through interact club members, our school’s general assembly, school news, social media and public address system. They congratulated us on our bold move and assured us of their continued support.

More than 100

The impact created through our project is enough to sustain a lifelong effect among the onlookers. However, our interact club members will stay as a bridge between the trust and the people who would like to contact them to offer any help. They will serve as the guides and messengers for the trust.