Karan participated in a children's fair in his school organised by CRY-supported project Gram Vikas Trust (GVT), Gujarat. 14-year-old Karan participated in one such bal-mela. The theme was technology and Karan here was so inspired that he went back home and created a wind turbine all by himself. He presented his school and it was a delight to see that this turbine generated electricity and lit a light bulb.
Karan now knows what he wants to be when he grows up. He plans on finishing his education so that he can fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer.
It is just once in a while that we come across an extraordinary story that’s worth telling. This is one such story of a 12 year old boy who won a national award for his invention.
Life has snatched away a lot from Naveen Kumar who hailed from a small village called Madanpalli in Andhra Pradesh. But that did not deter him from achieving the best.
He was just 12 years old when he invented an eco friendly mechanism to cook food, which was cost-effective with zero pollution. He used raw materials like toasted coconut shells, cellulose, lime powder and arg cryst powder to prepare it. And his efforts bore fruit when he won national award for it from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
What makes his story all the more interesting is: Naveen was a child labourer. He was in fourth standard when he had to drop out of school and work at a tea stall to complement his father’s meagre income. His family did not have proper shelter or a steady source of income. Naveen’s father sold vegetables on the street and refused to send him to school as he would lose the additional income Naveen earned. It was at this juncture, CRY-supported project People’s Organisation for Rural Development (PORD) children identified him and his family as part of their social work.
But convincing his parents to send him to school was not an easy task. The incentives in the form of mid-day meals, free books and free uniform could not make his parents send him to school. Even with the knowledge that they can be punished for encouraging child labour, his parents refuse to budge from their decision.
The CRY team then approached the Sarpanch and only after the latter agreed to approve their self employment loan that his parents finally relented and Naveen was re-enrolled back in school in August 2013 along with his younger brother who had dropped out as well. As per the promise, the Sarpanch approved a loan of Rs 25000/- for his vegetable business and his family also received an Aadhar card and ration card.
It was at school that Naveen started participating in child collective meetings, then became a part of the cultural team and gained exposure, confidence and leadership skills. It gave him an opportunity to explore which ultimately led him to participate in the Science Exhibition. He started identifying the issues that schools faced and one was pollution.
“I realised that the method which the school authorities used for cooking mid-day meals in the school caused pollution and was not favourable for the environment. Hence, I wanted to find a way through which this pollution could be minimised,” said Naveen.
And thus he started working on his project. With the help of his school, Eswaramma colony UP school and PORD team, he participated in an exhibition conducted by the District Educational department in 2015. Out of the 450 projects that were displayed, only 70 projects were selected for State level. And one belonged to Naveen.
He qualified for the national level competition conducted at Delhi. He was one among the five winners. Naveen’s invention is favourable to human health and the environment and is now being used in many schools, including his own, to prepare mid-day meals.
The success has truly changed Naveen and his family’s life. His mother joined a self help group and now works at a bakery. When asked what his goal for the future is he said, “I want to become an engineer and help poor children improve their skills.”
This is the story of 11 year old aspiring artist, Purnima Kanojiya. The daughter of a driver and a domestic helper, Purnima is the middle child of three. She has an elder sister and a younger brother and often helps her parents with household chores like taking care of her brother when they’re at work.
Purnima is presently in the 6th grade. Her determination and willpower know no bounds. Such is her thirst for knowledge and desire to excel in whatever she does, that academically, she is actually ahead of most other school going 6th graders.
Purnima’s real interests and passions include painting and quite a bit of theatre. When asked about what she wants to be when she grows up, Purnima doesn’t hesitate to say that she wants to be an actress. A dream that may seem out of place but one that belongs to Purnima and one that she is determined to achieve. She is a confident and headstrong girl who knows what she wants and works towards achieving her dream of being the next big Bollywood star. Purnima is an inspiration to all the other children in the community as well. Her dreams are first priority for her and she doesn’t let anyone or anything bring her down. This inspires other children to work towards their own aims and aspirations no matter what the circumstances are.
When asked about what exactly she likes about acting, she says “I love being on stage. It gives me a lot of confidence and happiness. I can’t wait to grow up and get into an acting school”. Currently, Purnima is working hard on her academics and developing her talents. She is well on the path to making her dreams come true.