Bhopali Children Celebrate New Year

BHOPAL: Going beyond wishing happy New Year, some children from across the world came together to extend greetings somewhat differently They are extending good wishes for the New Year by appealing people to make it a toxic-free world.

They are child activists, who came together online from Bhopal to New York, Katni to France to support each other on issues they feel strongly about.

For these child activists, the agenda does not include party themes or celebrations. Rather they bond well on issues closer to their hearts and concern the future generations.

One among them is Bhopal-based Safreen Khan, a teen activist, part of ‘Children against DOW’. In contact with her New York-based friends Akash Mehta, 12, and Gautama Mehta, 16, online, they exchange ideas for supporting fight for justice for the Bhopal gas victims and trying to find ways to put pressure on the Dow chemical company and their respective governments.

Akash and Gautama also help other kids in distress around the world. Congo, Afghanistan and the US to name a few countries. They started a group called ‘Kids for a Better Future’ (KBF) some four years ago.

“We are fighting for justice and we plan to drum up more support this year. After all, it is our own future we are striving for,” said Safreen.

Child activists are striving to expand their footprint. They are extending their support to their friends against POSCO plant in Orissa, Nandigram and children of French town of Toulouse, which was rocked by a devastating chemical explosion in 2001.

Children in lesser known towns of Madhya Pradesh are also not far behind. A student of class VII in Katni, Megha Motwani, said, “My message this year is to tackle de-forestation and lessen the impact of coal-based power plants coming up in and around Katni.”

They are putting the medium of online to a great use. “These children work hard to make voices of boys and girls heard, a development being taken note of by NGOs and government officials,” said UNICEF communication specialist Anil Gulati, who runs a blog in his personal capacity.

Source: The Times of India

Girl with candle Bhopal

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