Water is a precious commodity essential for the human life. A cleansing agent and a sustenance for the body, and it occupies around 70% of our world. Disciples for Peace Club mentor Arzoo Shakir fondly recalls her earliest memory playing in the rain as a child. In those moments, she opened her little hands and felt the cold and refreshing water in her palm.
“My mother would tell me, do not waste water. And every time those raindrops would fall, I would think of what my mother said—how important it was to save water,” she recalls. Arzoo is a Play for Peace mentor in Kolkata, India. At 19, she has gone through various trainings to promote peace and inclusion in east India.
During Earth Week this spring, her team, Disciples for Peace, joined the global event to promote protection of the environment and conserve water. Very poor children benefitted from PFP-driven learning activities, such as role-playing, storytelling, poster-making, and puppetry. On the surface, one might think that this is just play—for children. But hidden beneath the carefree camaraderie and playful surface is the need to be understood as children.
Arzoo recalls that in PFP, they do not really feel like trainers. They feel like one of the children because of the experiential type of learning that takes place. She made sure that the children who participated in Earth Week were reminded of this simple truth: water is important and we should not waste it. Her team had sessions which informed and educated children and she was excited to share the memories of the past event.
“I was satisfied when I saw their drawings. They enjoyed the sessions very much, even if they were thinking of their exams,” Arzoo said. Most of the participants were slated for school examination.
When they conducted PFP sessions, they had to do it fast and meet the learning objectives. So, Arzoo seized the moment. You can see from the drawings the children’s hope of a cleaner and greener world. One drawing depicted a “thirsty world” and another depicted saving raindrops with an umbrella turned upside down. Such creative display among the 10 participants.
For Arzoo, saving water is about preparing the next generation - giving them the chance for survival. What people sow now in saving mother earth will be reaped in the future. Children must understand the greater picture of their world and must take part in caring for their environment. PFP aids them with practical learnings to be able to cope with the daily challenges whether it be political, social, or environmental in nature.