Daan Utsav, a festival of giving, is celebrated all over India in the first week of October. People from all walks of life participate - doing their bit to spread happiness.
This year, Al Qamar decided to hold an outreach and planning conference to motivate schools and kids to participate in Daan Utsav.
Representatives from Grades 5-7 from seven schools including Al Qamar, attended the Student Leader conference. The conference was organised as a World Cafe, a wonderful format for holding large group discussions and brainstorming sessions. It was a fantastic student led conference with adults as observers.
Here is the report by Anam Fathima, Grade 6 who was the reporter for the occasion:
DAAN UTSAV, WORLD CAFE; ROUND 1
The speaker booms out; "Take your seats. The event is about to begin." Seven different schools are about to begin a World Cafe; a brainstorming technique. The method consists of a number of tables starting with at least four tables with four or more people at each table. Each of the tables are provided with a chart; on which to write ideas, markers & pens, snacks and notepads. In this case there are six tables with five people at each table. The teams exchange tables at each round to share ideas, usually one of the previous team member has to be left behind as a host.
The World Cafe is about to begin. The situation is tense. The topic question is "What Can We As School Students Do On Daan Utsav?". The Teams are discussing. Team One is on the lead with the first idea. Team Two follows with more ideas. Team Three is catching up. "Teach poor children" . "Give the maids a day off". "Donate medicines" "Clean streets". Charity Drives are coming up. "Make the charts nice, colorful and messy, don't worry about handwriting or spellings" , are the instructions. The Teams are now up to the challenge. "Last one minute." booms the loud speaker. Last minute changes are being made. The charts are full to bursting. End of round one.
DAAN UTSAV, WORLD CAFE; ROUND 2
The students are feeling full now,and are eager to begin round two. The students briskly go back to their Teams and decide who is is to be left behind. The Teams have now exchanged tables. At Table one sits Team Two, and at Table Two sits Team One, and so on. The Teams are ready to begin now. A hushed silence falls over the students while they await for the topic question excitedly. " And now, the second round's question is What Problems Will We Face " , booms the speaker. Teams are giving out ideas at top speed. " We can't go because of the Dangers", says Team Two. Team One and Team Two are in the lead with the most ideas. Team Three is catching up, though. The boys are in a frenzy with ideas spilling out. "Last one minute" booms the loud speaker. Last one minute ideas are coming up. End of round two.
The Teams are now much used to the procedure and are now awaiting the last and final topic question. Team 1 has gone to Table 4, Team 4 to Table 1. Teams 2 & 5 also switch. The Teams have come up with yet another batch of ideas, such as "use public transportation.", "Convince your parents to let you participate if you promise to get good marks", "Go visit neighbors instead of complete strangers" . End of the World Cafe.
Each group comes up and presents all the charts made at their table, albeit by different groups. They have to know all that went on previously at their table. Each child from the other schools has to speak. Initially nervous, the children soon gain confidence and outline the ideas generated.
TAKE AWAY IDEAS
The Teams are asked now to go back to their own schools and discuss what three ideas would they like to implement at their own schools as leaders. They are also asked to give a presentation on it. The Schools are discussing what to take away and are preparing for their presentation. "We can donate our old, unwanted things", says one school, "Give away our textbooks & stationery" says another. "Put piggy banks in all our classrooms where children can donate money which can be given away." "Plant trees during Daan Utsav", "Clean the road outside our school", "Buy a package of monthly needs for an orphanage or old age home", "Make and distribute paper bags", "Gift plants"
And many more ideas....
At the end our Correspondent encouraged each school to take the ideas back, meet with their principal and ensure that the ideas are implemented in Daan Utsav.