ESAF and HealthBridge in association with Kasturi Nagar Mahila Samaj celebrated children’s day by reclaiming street on 3rd Cross Street, Kasturi Nagar on 17/11/2013, Sunday between 11am – 1pm. Under the leadership and support of Vimala Gowda, President, Kasturi Nagar Mahila Samaj members utilised this opportunity to teach children about the games they played on street when they were children. Traditional games such as Kunte Pillai, Chowka Bhara, Chinese checkers, Chess, Ayuthu mane, pakida atta, cycling and running race were organised by members of ESAF.
ESAF, an NGO working for reclaiming public space and pedestrian rights for children, felt that Bangalore city has less opportunity when it comes to having physical activities for children. In this context, they had organised street reclaiming to celebrate the spirit of children’s day. Manju George, Program Officer, explained the purpose of having this event, how it is going to help children physically and emotionally and the importance of reclaiming streets more often for children in her inaugural speech. It is a reminder that playing is not a luxury you are giving to your children; it’s their right, a necessity for their healthy growth.
The event was well received by children as well as their parents. 49 children of age groups ranging from 2 years to 15 years took part and enjoyed the day. Children were so enthusiastic and explored the opportunities to learn traditional games.
Vimala Gowda felt that these traditional games had played greater role in their development which should be shared with current generation as well. Her grand daughter Tanishka, 9 year old conveyed that they should get similar opportunity more often.
Victoria Nalini FN, resident of Kasturinagar, was of the opinion that these days children do not come out to play outside at all and thus these kind of initiatives are needed more.
Karan, a 11-year-old boy, described the event as “Lovely and looking forward for more often”. Gayathri, a 10-year-old enjoyed the street drawing event most and that goes for all the children. Varshini of Class VII felt that she had gone to her grandparents’ house where once in a year she gets similar opportunity. Anupama of Class VI was so happy that she got to see many of her class mates and school mates are close to her place. Sai Nithin of Class VI was happy to see Anupama his class mate, he could meet many of his friend and had fun.
Though the time allotted was 20 minutes for street drawing, creativity among children was so inspirational that the organisers encouraged them to have more time to share their ideas. Street drawings with coloured chalks had seen natural objects such as leaves, seeds, and flowers decorating their drawing which had taken creativity to another level.
Preethi, mother of 2 years 8 months old shared her happiness and requested the event to be held more often. Events like this give an opportunity for children to get to know their age group friends in the locality, improves their language skills, communication and negotiaition skills. Children also learn to give and take from other children which are important in the current scenario where many families have single child.
Nagarathna said that she got an opportunity to cherish her childhood memories and took a lead to explain and give a demo on how to play Kunte Pillai and other games. Amazing part of the event was that the informal way of introducing games helped children to have an exposure to many of the old games without having any pressure of competition.
Nagarathna, Vimala Gowda, Usha and most of the parents also took this opportunity to become children by playing Kunte Pillai, riding cycle etc. As the games and fun time ended by noon, children and their parents were content and happy and at the same time were disappointed that fun time got over soon. Generation of this feeling cites the success of the event. Children and parents are looking forward for more such events; Mrs Vimala Gowda shared that this can be planned more often in every quarter or in 6 months. She had also encouraged children to reclaim the street atleast during weekends. In fact, she offered the street infront of her to utilise the events like this.
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