Accompanying the pourakarmikas on road while they collect garbage and taking active part in inculcating civic awareness in the citizens of Bengaluru is her favourite thing to do. She is one of the oldest residents of Koramangala and civic issues are closest to her heart. Sheela Ladha, 50, has been a very active volunteer with Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA) for the past three years. This active home-maker feels that the city has grown old with her and she, with the city.
CMCA usually starts a civic club in the schools, and a volunteer from CMCA who is called a civic tutor goes to the school every week to take a lesson for that group of children. We have a curriculum that we follow which includes civic sense, rights and responsibilities, democracy and active citizenship. It is an academically aligned program so one volunteer is associated with one school. We interact with a particular group of children from June to February and sensitse these children towards active citizenship.
What is your role in CMCA?
As a volunteer, I am associated with Bethany school for last three years. I go over there as a civic tutor. Besides that, I spend a lot of time with the organisation itself. I recruit new volunteers, mentor them, etc. I help the organisation in whatever time I have. Basically I am committed to this organisation.
How have you seen the city grow?
We have been living here for 23 years now. There has been growth in the city, no doubt. But we have seen it in the negative way as well. There were times when while walking on the roads, we greeted our neighbours and knew each other. But not anymore. Now, every time we see only new people and the sense of neighbourhood is gone. Unfortunately.
What is your favourite hangout in Bangalore?
We like to see plays, so we frequent Rangashankara theatre a lot. I also like to sit in Koramangala Swabhimana park and refresh myself. I love going there and sitting.
What is that something positive that has helped changing the city for the better?
Related to the civic issues, we have a very responsive government. We have proper help lines now, we have officers who attend to the phone calls. Whatever department it is, a very good response comes. Any civic agency like the BBMP, BWSSB, BMTC, etc, I feel it works very well in the city, provided we use it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I am very involved in my neighbourhood civic matters. I participate in cleaning activities in the neighbourhood like waste segregation. I accompany my sweeper in getting the roads cleaned and ensuring that they are in good condition. We have some really good resident welfare associations here in Koramangala and I am a part of a lot of them. This keeps me busy all the time.
What is the one thing that you wish to do in future?
Given a chance, I would love to accompany a traffic police on the signals. I want to volunteer over there on regular basis. I want to go and help as a traffic volunteer.