17 November 2022
In the backdrop of the stubble-burning season in Punjab, RoundGlass Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Mohali, carried out a two-week-long (31st October to 13th November) drive to sensitise children in rural Punjab about the harmful effects of burning farm stubble. 1,500 students participated in the activity, which was organised in 52 villages across three districts – Ludhiana, SAS Nagar and Fatehgarh Sahib. More than 2,600 cases of stubble burning have so far been reported from these three districts this season. Stubble burning continues to be a contentious issue with a lasting impact on the environment and public health.
The goal of the activity, implemented by Learn Labs programme of RoundGlass Foundation, is to make children, the Changemakers and Leaders of tomorrow, aware of the urgent issue of stubble burning. Many of these children come from farming families and are likely to take up farming as a profession in the future. Making children aware of sustainable farming practices early on, will help them make informed decisions when they start farming themselves.
Speaking about the sensitisation drive, Mr Vishal Chowla, Leader, RoundGlass Foundation said, “As an organisation, we are heavily invested in Punjab’s wellbeing by bringing about sustainable transformation on the ground. Our goal is to revive the air, water, and soil in the state through awareness, communication and sustained community action. Stubble burning has been the primary cause of air pollution in Punjab and other states. Our work is focused on raising awareness about sustainable solutions available for this problem. We know that social transformation and behaviour change for the future begins today with children.”
During the activity, children between the ages of 6 to 14 years, were informed about the reasons that farmers burn stubble, where the smoke from the fires goes and also alternate ways to deal with farm stubble. Children were also asked to interview farmers in their villages about this practice, plan an awareness campaign to stop stubble burning and educate people about the ill effects of this practice while stressing the importance of clean air. “With the help of the children from the Learn Labs, we hope to spread the word about clean air across various districts of Punjab,” added Mr Chowla.
Learn Labs is an after-school programme of RoundGlass Foundation, which empowers children in rural Punjab to define their own learning path with access to technology and the internet with mentors from around the world. At present, there are 54 Learn Labs operating in Punjab with 35 Changemakers mentoring more than 1,500 students in the age group of 6-14 years. Each Lab is managed by a ‘Changemaker’, usually, from the same village, an individual who has risen against the odds to pursue her passion for teaching. Learn Labs enjoy the support of the whole village community in running its operations.