MATUNGA, AUGUST 26, 2011: This year, the Ganesh Festival will take on special meaning for four hundred and fifty children from seven schools across the city, who participated in workshops on ‘Green Ganesh’ over the last two days. The sessions were part of the Green Schools Campaign that these schools are involved in, conducted by GreenLine, the environment education-action project of Don Bosco Development Society.
The programme began on August 25, with Dominic Savio High School (Andheri) playing host to two other schools—Holy Family High School (Andheri) and Don Bosco High School (Borivli)—at a two-hour workshop. With more than two hundred children of all ages in attendance, the resource team from the Young Environmentalists Programme Trust demonstrated the process of moulding Ganesh idols from clay, and the importance of using natural, degradable decorations. The children seized the opportunity to show off their artistic skills, crafting well-made idols using only clay, flowers, leaves, and coloured grains and pulses.
The next session on August 26, saw an even larger number of students—two hundred and forty in all—attending the workshop. The participating schools were St. Joseph’s High School (Wadala), Auxilium Convent (Wadala), Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Sion), and the hosts Don Bosco High School (Matunga). The GreenLine team opened the session with Fr. Savio Silveira explaining how a return to traditional, eco-friendly practices would make for a more enjoyable and environmentally safe celebration.
After crafting their clay idols, the children couldn’t wait to share their learnings with family and friends. As Vedangi Chintawa, a ninth standard student from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School stated, ‘I’ve enjoyed my first experience making eco-friendly Ganpatis, and will share this idea with my friends’. Another participant, Karan Parmar from St. Joseph’s High School, said that ‘although all my friends and neighbours may not agree to go green, I will keep trying till I convince them’. The message of Green Celebrations was aptly summed up by the teachers from Auxilium Convent, Ms. Rukmini and Sr. Fidelis, who said, ‘The children present today are only fifty out of the total strength of our school. But we will make sure that they teach the other students and spread the message of environmental responsibility to as many people as possible’.