On 27th June, 2020, volunteers of AIESEC from MAHE, VIT and Thapar Patiala hosted an event called the World’s Largest Lesson. Organized by UNICEF, the objective of this lesson was to educate and enlighten students about the Sustainable Development Goals that are needed for peace in the planet, and for its prosperity. This is an initiative which believes that every student must be given the opportunity to learn about the Global Goals and get inspired to take action to provide the future generation with a better life on this planet.
Students from various schools in Nagpur and Rajasthan, places that the organizers believed needed the impact of this education, gathered to attend this virtual lesson. Over four hundred students from the age of 9 to 16 took part in this programme.
For a large number of students, the event was wonderfully managed and handled and proceeded with paramount efficiency.
The event commenced at 4:00 pm on Zoom. Each meeting had mentors from AIESEC as well as some students to make the sessions as interactive and fruitful as possible. They initiated the meeting with an ice breaker for the students to introduce themselves. The event was then set in motion by the mentors talking about the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals which were classified into Spiritual, Ecological and People oriented goals. The primary focus of this programme was to educate the students on – Good Health and Well Being, Gender Equality, Quality Education, and Clean Water and Sanitation.
While talking about each of these topics, the mentors kept the students on their feet by making them interact and share their opinion on each of these topics. Additionally, the students were engaged through activities like drawing in which they made illustrations of their interpretation of the problem and shared it with the group. The students were also shown videos and pictures of the issues and were explained the impact of these issues in our country and in the world.
It was exciting to see the students responding and doing the activities with utmost enthusiasm. The mentors created an environment where the students to share their views without any hesitation.
Gender equality was explained by giving the students an understanding about some basic facts. They were also told about ending all violence against women, recognizing the value of a women’s work at home, and encouraging women to participate in political and economic spheres. They were also given statistics to show the gender disparity between men and women.
The students were made to understand that quality education had to be provided for all; starting from a young age in a safe and positive environment. Everyone must have well trained and motivated teachers and all resources should be made available to everyone without discrimination. They were told that this was essential for a bright future.
The importance of good health and wellbeing were elucidated by making the students understand the significance of a healthy birth, vaccination, proper food, protection from preventable diseases, and freedom from addiction as well as knowing your body and having access to healthcare. Especially in these testing times the significance of washing their hands and not touching their face was emphasized.
Clean water and sanitation are not provided to billions of people across the world. The students were made to understand that nearly 2.4 billion people lack basic sanitation services such as toilets and latrines. Several more statistics were provided about the number of people that are affected by these issues. The students were then asked to rank the causes of water pollution and explain their choices.
The event was concluded by an oath taking that they would be responsible, kind, and inclusive, and stand up for those that may need help. They pledged to make a difference wherever they can.
The goal of UNICEF, through such programs, is that by 2030 they would have achieved equal chances for all to succeed at all levels of public life.
Overall, it was a very wholesome experience and a lot could be taken back from it. The event brought to light some very important and relevant issues in a manner that was appealing to the children and enlightening.
Written by Sanjana Bharadwaj for MTTN
Image credits Rohit Suresh