Jun 5, 2015

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Summer School Children’s Workshop

-By Jaimini Prabhune

Summer School Children’s Workshop

Day 1: June 4, 2015

The participants including enthusiastic children and engineering students were all briefed about motive of the Summer School Children’s Workshop. A total of six groups were formed. Different areas were allotted to each of the groups. All the participants were guided on their role and the schedule for the next two days of the workshop.

Day 2: June 5, 2015

In the first session (morning), the six groups visited one area to understand the locality, its lifestyle, the identify problems and try come up with solutions to some of these problems. When the children returned after their field visit they were asked to describe the area visited and its particulars along with problems identified. The children empathized with the residents of these areas and understood their difficulties. The children could also observe details regarding lifestyle and civic amenities in these areas and presented the same. In the second session (evening), groups were interchanged and visited a different area.

Day 3: June 6, 2015

This day included brainstorming for the children. They were expected to keep up the spirit of empathy and come up with ideas and innovations to ease the life of people they had met in their visits. They were expected to think of solutions to make life simpler and ease the difficulties of people living in these areas. Almost each and every child who was part of this work displayed full enthusiasm. They made diagrams, charts and even a few models to represent solutions to many of the difficulties. With the help of Summer School students and co-coordinators the groups prepared a presentation of these ideas. The presentations focused on bringing together technology and innovation to simplify people’s lives and their tasks.

Presentation for the morning session


Group 1

Area visited: Jamalpur which includes a flower market and slums as well as Sardar Bridge Municipal Health Staff Quarters.Untitled

Problems identified in the entire area: Lack of space for vehicle movement and parking, poor packing of flowers (they are brought in large cloth tied at two ends and excess flowers all fall to the ground), lack of dustbins, lack of cleanliness, storage problems, no recycling of flowers.

Nilesh identified the problem of scattered flowers that added to litter and garbage in the area. He suggested creating a pedal bicycle which can collect excess flowers lying around.

Affan observed that there was a road being constructed in the area. He empathized with the labourers who could be experiencing stress and pain while transporting tar and gravel. He thought of a tool which that he called “the wheelbarrow” and constructed its paper model. This tool would have a slope which would help collect the gravel. The gravel would be loaded and unloaded in the wheelbarrow using a wiper. Affan also observed that most people staying here chew tobacco and spit it on the walls thereby making it filthy. He suggested that walls could be coloured in red to hide such spit marks.

Zalak identified the problem of water supply in the area. Residents have to fetch water from far off places several times in a day. She suggested that there should be pipelines with three-tier filter to provide clean water in the area.


Group 2

Area visited: Makarba which are dominated by potters and Fatehwadi.

Problems identified in the entire area: Lack of cleanliness and hygiene, labour required to make pots that provide meager financial returns, education facility only till high school.

The children empathized with the pain and labour involved in making the pots. He suggested that potters should be provided with a mechanized schematic potter’s wheel powered by pedal and is regenerative too. If this wheel is connected with a battery, this battery can be charged with this wheel. The power from the battery can be used when the potter feels exhausted or even for other purposes.

Shubh identified the pain in hands and shoulders endured when the potter uses a wooden stick to shape the pots. His idea for reducing this pain is use of a pedal (somewhat like that used in a sewing machine) for this purpose.

Another child suggested use of a balloon shaped mechanized tool for making pot.

Ahmad and Sameer felt they can reduce the strain experienced by potters to filter the clay thereby making it usable for making pots. They have created a filter with a tap for this purpose.

Shirinhas also thought of a multi-level sieve filtration for cleaning out the clay and a mechanized system for making pots. A valuable suggestion was that the water used to clean the clay can be reused to make the pots.


Group 3

Area visited: Naroda pata

Problems identified in the area: The people earn meager sum of Rs 100 a day after making around 60 to 70 brooms; lot of time and energy is consumed in beating the brooms, Municipality demolishes their houses often due to illegal encroachment, lack of water and electric supply.

The group described the whole process of broom making and problems experienced at each stage.

Vishal has thought of a solution to alleviate pain experienced in hands and shoulders when the broom needs to be beaten. Traditionally a tool called a ‘panja’ is used which is made using nails inserted into a half-cut tennis ball. Vishal has sketched an alternate tool with spikes inserted in a drum which is then attached to a pedal to move the drum.

Nilesh identified the problem of water scarcity. People have to fetch water from an industry for which the watchman demands a bribe of a broom or something else.

After the brooms sticks are attached together, they have to be bounded together with rubber. The broom makers do this by tying it around their toe and holding the broom near their body. Rinku recognized the pain experienced when the rubber slips from their toe and hits the chest of the broom maker. Rinku shared the idea of using rollers which cut palm leaves and rubber too. Sailesh thought of using a string roller (similar to one used for kite-flying string…locally called firki). He also thought of a drum with spikes to separate the broom fibres with a belt and a pedal (worksheet). Mann further suggested that a belt with pedal can be used but it can charge s battery that can motorize the machine and also provide electricity when needed. Rinku also suggested that the waste fibers should be collected and used for paper-making, thereby creating a source of income for the broom makers.

The children’s teacher Madhubhai suggested using a cycle with spokes on the wheels to separate the fibers. The wheels can be moved with pedals and two brooms can be prepared at the same time.



Group 4 

Area visited: Pirana village

Problems identified in the area: Lack of cleanliness, lack of drainage facility, and the local school has classes only till 10th grade are some problems identified. Children have to travel to Ahmedabad to study further. Girls are not allowed to go to school. Girls are supposed to be taught sewing and mehndi art at local Anganwadi for free. However, they are charged fees for the training and taught only for two-three days. There was leakage in a water pipeline which made the area dirty.

The group’s children suggested that the area should be provided with proper dustbins. A child further added that there should be a truck with a crane that can visit the area and collect garbage from these dustbins to maintain cleanliness. Another child also suggested that the garbage should be separated into bio-degradable garbage and plastic; the bio-degradable garbage can be recycled and any money earned from the recycled waste can be used for betterment of the community. They also suggested that plastic waste can also be sold to help solve the area’s problems.

Gulnaz suggested that since proper sewing and mehndi training is not provided at the anganwadi, there can be a camp by experts to train a few women. These women can then train other girls and women in the community.

The children felt issue regarding lack of educational facility needs to be taken up with appropriate authorities of the area.

Mamta thought of a solution to tackle frequent breaking of water pipelines. She suggested that to avoid the waste of water and consequent dirt due to the wastage, the water from broken pipelines should be collected in an underground tank. According to Mamta, stored water can then be transported to the original tank after pipeline is repaired and thereby reused.

The group also suggested that children of the community can paint various walls in the area in their spare time to make the place look clean and tidy.


Group 5: Lal Darwaja which is a market area full of hawkers selling their wares on carts.

Problems identified include: The hawkers face difficulties when they have to stand for long hours at their cart. Also they have no means to protect themselves and their wares from the sunlight or rain.

Raju suggested that the cart should have a sliding chair underneath so that the hawker can take rest while waiting for customers.

Sunil’s innovative idea was fitting a solar paneled roof for each cart. He further suggested that if the cart had pedals it would power a battery that can then be used as a source of electricity anywhere.

Shubh recognized the pain in hands and shoulders endured by a hawker selling watches and key chains on a large hanger. He thought of an alternative way of selling such wares by replacing the hanger with a bag like panel fitted with small hooks to display the wares. This panel can be worn like a bag by the shoulder which will be supported by the body of the hawker.


Group 6: Juhapura slums

Problems cited by the group: Lack of educational facilities and cleanliness. The school was in a kutcha house so children of the area did not like going there. Moreover the school functions for only one hour in a day. The area also had problems of water scarcity.

Ashna suggested creating a digital watch that is fitted with a few buttons which when pressed can display numbers and alphabets in Gujarati and English languages. She also thought if the watch has a speaker attached, the pronunciation of the alphabets can be taught too.

Jalpa suggested rainwater harvesting to tackle the problem of water scarcity in the area. The water can be collected during rains in an underground tank and transported to the slum area.

Deepak spotted the impending risk of electric shock to children due to electric meters that were fitted at a very low height in the area. He thought that these meters should be covered with wooden or plastic boxes to avert any danger.



Presentation for the evening session


Group 1

Area visited: Behrampura

Ashna empathized with a person peeling onion skin whose hands become soiled and turn black due to his job. She suggested he should be given gloves to avoid this.

Jalpa suggested rainwater harvesting and storing it in an underground tank to tackle water scarcity in the area.

Another child suggested an alternative way of street cooking where the steam escapes through tiny holes in a box. This method can reduce pollution and risk of contaminated food.

Affan recognized the lack of space in slums for storing household things due to which they lay scattered in front of the house around the cot. He suggested making a zipped compartment under the cot where all such excess household things can be stored.

Another child felt empathy for cycle rickshaw puller and suggested motorizing such rickshaws using solar panels that can generate electricity too.


Group 2:

Area visited: Vejalpur

Sunil suggested a method to save water to aid during times of water scarcity. He thought of a way to save water which is wasted when tanks overflowed. He suggested using an alarm that sounds when water is overflowing from any tank.

Krish suggested bringing the Narmada waters to the area to solve problem of water scarcity.

The children realized that 4 persons were required to make a single rope. Raju thought of motorizing the rope making process to reduce the number of labourers while also easing the manual labour.


Group 3: 

Area visited: Juna Vadaj

The area comprised of some potters. There was also a man who took care of several birds and spent from his personal earnings for feeding the birds.

Thepotters have to bend a lot to apply colour on the pots. Gulnaz suggested using an equipment somewhat like a table-fan for colouring the pots while the person can sit on a chair in front of the equipment.

The man taking of the birds uses a unique way during the kite flying festival. He binds the birds with a safety pin to prevent them from flying. The children suggested he can use some alternate method like plastic pins or small strings to save the birds from getting hurt.


Group 4:

Area visited: Gyaspur slum which a dumpyard.

Problems cited in the area: Major problems of the area included lack of awareness in education and government facilities, open defecation, poor quality of drinking water and lack of electric supply.

Mann suggested that all the people living in this area should collectively build toilets or seek the concerned authorities help for this. Rinku on the other hand suggested use of Ecosan toilets to solve problem of open defecation.

One boy had an innovative solution to help the people in kutcha homes. He thought of a foldable home. The advantage of this home is its mobility for the migrant community.

Sailesh and Swapnil thought of making a filter since water available in this area is either salty or contains impurities. They have thought of a filter with different levels using coal and stones for purification.

Mann empathized with the difficulties of a woman who was removing metal caps from spray bottles. The woman’s hands were getting injured and they had many scars too. Mann thought of making a lever that can be used to remove such caps and thereby ease their pain.


Group 5:

Area visited:  Lal Darwaja and Gulbai tekra

Shirin suggested that hawkers in the Lal darwaja area should have retractable roofs that can protect the wares during monsoon.

Krish spotted the difficulty in dragging thermocol boxes filled with fish and suggested that such boxes should be fitted with wheels to make its movement easier.

The children saw a lot of garbage surrounding a garlic cart. Sanjay suggested attaching a garbage box under the garlic cart to get rid of such garbage.

The children felt empathy for ragpickers near Gulbai tekra who may get injured by glass in the garbage. Ahmad suggested use of thick plastic gloves to avoid getting hurt.


All in all the brainstorming sparked and resulted in a deluge of ideas and innovations coming from young minds that could change the lives and work of several needy and hardworking people.

The workshop ended on a musical note with performance of Sameer a local singer coming from Juhapura specially to showcase his talent.



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