October 29, 2016: Children of around 30 slums in Berhampur in Odisha came forward to launch a campaign in order to make the inhabitants of their locality and their parents aware of a pollution free and safe way of celebrating Diwali. It was initiated on Thursday and is scheduled to end on Saturday.
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On Sunday, the night of Diwali, these children will abandon all the crackers and celebrate a cracker-free Diwali, which will set an example for the society. Young children from ‘child clubs’ of the slums of Berhampur, supported by the Youth for Social Development (YSD), have been continuing the awareness campaign since 2012, mentioned The Hindu.
A participant of this campaign, Kruti Kumari Sahu, a class X student hailing from Raghupati Nagar slum, stated that the temperament of the elders has changed for sure and reported to The Hindu, “They no more have complex that they cannot provide crackers for their children due to financial constraints. They now feel proud that they and their children are observing Diwali as per the real tradition.”
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According to The Hindu report, Class IV student Mamali Das of the slum Ambapua Bauri Sahi, gave an impression of being more knowledgeable than the people many times her age. She talked about her preference for celebrating the festival of lights with diyas, rangolis and candles along with fun and frolic. She stated that crackers are highly hazardous for the houses in their area as most of the roofs have polyethene sheets or are thatched. She mentioned her grief about the well-to-do living in the buildings near their slums do not understand the consequences of using the crackers and put the slum houses in grave danger of fire accidents through the use of crackers for the celebrations.
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Since Thursday these children have been walking around their locality to motivate the other kids, youth and the elders to support the cause of the campaign and not waste their hard-earned cash on buying crackers.
The children create beautiful rangolis with diyas on different streets and they sing and dance for a while and urge everyone to join them.
Friday evening saw such celebrations at Raghupati Nagar, Ambapua Bauri Sahi, Dhimira Bauri Sahi, Phulasundari Sahi, Jagabandhuhuda Sahi, Lanjipali Goudabandh Street, Gramdevati Bauri Sahi etcetera.
Chandan Kumar Sahu of YSD said to The Hindu that- since 2012, cracker use in slums where ‘child clubs’ are active has gone down. “These children have reduced pollution during Diwali to some extent. We hope others will reduce their cracker use as a token of gratitude to these children.”
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