July 25, 2009

Madras for our children

How do we get our children to know our city better?

Its history and its people. Its landmarks and its contribution to our country.

This is one of the questions that comes up as we plan for Madras Day 2009 (www.themadrasday.in).

My colleague on the Madras Day team, R. Revathi runs her own web site for children of this city. It is called Yocee ( URL - www.yocee.in). Revathi has begun to populate her web site with little online events for children and hopes to add more as ideas pop up in the days to come.

The Chennai chapter of INTACH, led by S. Suresh and Prema Kasturi have networked with a dozen city schools. These will be the hubs of a series of events centred on Coins.

If Ashok Leyland spares the colourful special bus that it has for children's activities, we may repeat what we did in the past years.

Take students based in Central and South Chennai to landmarks in North Chennai and vice versa.

The Madras Naturalists Society plans to organise a trip to Pallikaranai marshlands for two reasons - to spot the growing number of birds which have been flocking to this water body and also to show people how we are destroying this valuable and rare nature reserve by dumping tons of garbage we generate and then burning it.

Just the sort of trip that our children should sign up for this season.

There is lots more residents' associations and campuses can do for Madras Week. And they can easily look for themes for children in their backyard.

How does the city's sewage system work? K K Nagar's schools can ask Metrowater to open its gates at Nesapakkam.

What really goes on at the Port of Chennai? Schools should ask the Port Chairman to allow short tours of this campus, security issues notwithstanding.

What are the important landmarks in our neighbourhood? Have an exhibition in the campus. . .

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