In these times of anguish & uncertainty when people are in the dark about what Corona virus numbers will greet them the next morning, who is the next person getting adversely affected by it, Smile Foundation is trying to spread smiles & awareness amongst everyone. People these days are looking for a glimmer of hope to cling to, especially now that they are under lockdown. A lot of them are reorganizing their lives as they are letting go of the earlier routines and building new ones. Adults and children alike are adding new words into their vocabulary like Lockdown, super spreader, contact tracing. There is an infodemic that seems to be hitting all like waves. In such times, we have to go back to basics, staying happy with our family members, unshackling ourselves from bondages that guided us earlier, following the very basic routines of hygiene & sanitation. In times like this, we cannot lose faith and have to wait patiently for the situation to turn for the better.
At Child for Child (CFC), we have always believed that children are supposed to be out in the world, channelizing their energy towards sports & education & also towards playing with their friends. But times are such, unfortunately, they are under house restrictions for no fault of theirs. The realization came while the team was discussing the movement restrictions that children are the worst sufferers, and now was when efforts needed to be made to keep them busy & engaged productively & progressively. CFC team members’ conversations started to veer towards helping children unleash their creative talents even during the lockdown. The idea that took shape was to enthuse children with the idea of expressing their feelings, their sentiments & the knowledge acquired about the Corona pandemic in some creative manifestation. And, most importantly also to build in an element of competition so that they do not become lethargic. As the famous saying goes, “All work & no play makes Jack a dull boy!”
The Child for Child team then put together a campaign, decided upon the categories and themes for the 8-day campaign. It was decided that students can share their ideas on “How to Win the Fight over COVID-19” by way of paintings, sketches, essays, poems, shairi, slogans, song lyrics, prose, satire, & cartoons with a social message. The team then reached out to thousands of their school partners across Delhi NCR, Maharashtra, Punjab, Jammu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & many more regions. They got an extremely positive response as every school was looking at keeping their students busy & engaged productively. CFC then built in an added element of competing for fun. With the blessings of Smile Foundation’s management, our COO, Mr. Sanjeev Dham & our National Consultant, Ms. Meena Batra, the final campaign was created. And sure enough, it was immediately lapped up by School principals & coordinators, and CFC’s national level campaign; “Students say….Let’s Win the Fight over Corona” took birth. The campaign commenced on the 30th of Mar’20 & will conclude on the 6th of Apr’20. The outreach has been to over 4000 schools & more than 50000 children received information about the campaign & the idea behind it via various mediums, calls, Whatsapp, emails, social media posts, The buzz was created relentlessly while staying locked down in our respective homes. It is in times like these we realize how technology has helped us become one global family!
A digital poster was created for the campaign & a Google form was generated for online registrations. CFC team rolled out the campaign pan India at 3 pm on the 27th of March’20 to seek early registrations. Principals & Coordinators of schools put into use their email groups & Whatsapp groups and circulated details about the campaign. They spoke with parents & guided them to motivate children to participate in the competition and to move away from the screens that seemed to have taken over their lives. For any queries, they were directed to the CFC team.
Within 24 hours there were over 300 registrations and the numbers have crossed 2400 since. The portal opened for entry submissions on the morning of the 30th of March, and there have been thousands of entries. We are halfway into the campaign and have already received close to 2000 paintings on the campaign theme, and close to a thousand entries on essays & poems. All submissions are sent by participants as a pdf, image or scanned copy in the attachment to an email id mentioned in the poster.
The campaign was built to force children to use their mental faculties and come out with their creative best for any of the themes that they would choose. Children across all age groups, 4 years to 18 have participated across different age categories. Results will be declared on Smile Foundation’s Facebook page on the 22nd of April’20. Winners will get 1st, 2nd & 3rd place Medals. All participants will get a Digital Certificate of Participation. Prizes will be given after schools reopen whenever the lockdown is removed.
Due to the overwhelming response of children and the huge number of entries, at CFC we realized that we have hit a spot with Schools, parents & children. We very proudly announce that we have now involved an external jury comprising esteemed people from the creative field, to sift through the mountain of submissions and arrive at the best few entries. Ms. Sangeeta Kumar Murthy, a felicitated artist for the past 25 years and Ms. Shivani Wazir Pasrich, a prominent theatre artist have agreed to be our jury. Keep watching this space as the campaign comes to a closure.
Some of the parents have sent us emails that reflect their appreciation for the campaign, which has given their children to not only be busy but to also give an outlet to the information that they have been exposed to the ongoing pandemic of Corona. One such message is shared below:
It’s a great initiative to make the kids engaged with the activities and to make them aware of COVID 19.
As we analyze the registrations, we see one region, Maharashtra, has shown a huge interest in this campaign, maybe because the state has now become the epicenter for the Corona in India. Around 50% of the registrations are from that state. There are some beautiful paintings & write-ups submitted by children. This Corona pandemic has truly left our students affected and they really want to do something, whatever little while staying home. The submissions vary in their concepts, from “Washing Hands”, “Break the Chain”, “Social Distancing”, “Save the Earth”. Children as young as 4 years have sent in their drawings. This clearly shows that students care & they want to be heard. The paintings, the poetry, the song lyrics are all depicting their anguish, their hope & their prayers.