As Global Educators and Global Learners, it’s important that we find opportunities to embrace global understanding, citizenship, and learning. Recently I came across a young man who is passionate and empowered by the chance to have young people across the world use their voice through art. This next generation of global citizens is empowering voice for communities all over the world. His team’s international social change movement, Manthan, is a grassroots effort for the people to address the challenges in their community through art. I seized the opportunity to interview him and be showcased through Global Education Alaska. I welcome the kindness, tenacity, and intelligence of Anmol Arora, International Relations Manager and Global Citizen in Delhi, India. The following interview is inspiring.
What do you believe?
Philanthropy and social change work are at their best when they are driven by your values and connected to what you care about most.
What led you here?
With the urge to change in the society and love in the hearts of theatre artists- Verve, The Street Play Society of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi, brings the 11th edition of the month long exuberant festival, Manthan.
What is Manthan?
The word manthan itself means to churn and create something new. Manthan as a festival was started in 2007 as an effort to make everyone realize the immense power each one of us possesses, the power to raise our voices against the conventions which weigh us down, to fuel the process of change in different cities all over the country as well as international cities, with the help of college students.
The prime motive of Manthan is to celebrate the spirit of street theatre and actively take part in instrumentalizing change. And to bring street theatre to public places and schools, to arise a sense of responsibility and cognizance about sensitive issues maligning the society, amongst the uninitiated. (translation for younger readers: to address and bring awareness to the problems in society)
Manthan touches sensitive social issues through the means of Street Play entertainment which stimulates the audience to question things that would otherwise be overshadowed by their ignorance, lest Manthan serves as a source of enlightenment for them. We want our initiative to be spread across more and more places so as to make people aware; we tell ourselves lies all the time that we are not responsible for anything and we alone cannot bring in change, but we at Manthan believe that, the change lies within us only. Manthan’18 promotes that everything #LiesWithin.
How did it begin?
It was started with just 3 teams performing at a single location in Delhi, National Capital. Manthan is a non-profit festival, which aims at promoting the art of street plays and taking it where it actually belongs, i.e. to the streets. Manthan’17 was organized in 44 cities at 125 different locations in 19 states of India and in 4 international locations -Russia, Brazil, Nigeria and Nepal.
How does Manthan tie into Global Citizenship?
Being a global citizen is important for all of us so as to have a cultural and social insight across the borders. It is an experience where global connectivity turns out to be innate development of the person. At Manthan, we have cultural exchange catering to social issues existing between countries, have a discussion about those issues, and come to a prospective solution to problems that can work in either many of the countries. Trying out other cultures enhances your emotional capabilities and make you happier, even scientifically. Going out of your comfort zone refreshes your personality and makes you more humble and confident in the society.
Manthan’18 will incorporate 23 states, across 50 major cities (Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Patiala, Agra, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jodhpur) and 2700 artists, with a total outreach of 200,000 people. To increase the gamut of the festival we have planned to organize Manthan’18 in Canada, Panama, Czech Republic, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Zambia, and Nepal.
Have you looked at expanding Manthan to the United States?
Yes, absolutely, and we would love to work with anyone willing to take that on. We are hoping that eventually the United States will join us in the empowering social change opportunity! If there is anyone interested in getting involved, you can reach me at email@example.com
The end of the year is coming, but we still have some great ways to get involved. This week we kicked off our Tudor Spring Book & Drive where we are collecting books to give to designated organizations, chosen by students. This year, students decided to give books to a school in California impacted by wildfire, a school impacted by tropical storms last fall, a newly developed school in rural Africa, and schools in rural Alaska through Rural Alaska Reads Program. Here is the flyer for the Book Drive: spring book drive families
Our next big exciting activity is our Global Earth Day project, which invites classes all over the world to simply share together what they are doing in honor of Earth Day. In the first 48 hours after the project posted online, interest was received from 27 countries/locations. This will be a super exciting showcase. In May, a blog post and video will highlight #EarthDay2018. Information can be shared here: https://padlet.com/carton_michelle/onehome
Water is such a crucial element to our way of life and everything we do. No matter where we are on earth, water has a major impact and role. It was my desire to have our students think about their local water and connect that with water on a global level.
I am so excited to announce that we had entered a contest, competing with entries across the world, to be a part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge–AND WE WON! With this win, we will be provided with 5 full water monitoring test kits (among other opportunities) for students to become field scientists (as soon as the ice breaks up).
Read the Press Release and information about the Challenge by clicking here: Water Challenge Win
At the beginning of the year we signed up to join a fun project with Lisa Davis from New York, called Bulldog Adventure, where their mascot, the “Bulldog” left Westmoreland, New York to travel the world, stopping at several places to visit and teach about previous travels.
When he arrived to us this past week, March 22 to be exact, we got the opportunity to learn about the places he has visited (through 69 slides). Every new place Bulldog travels to, he gets a few slides to share with the next group. Since he is arriving to us towards the end, we got to learn so much about our country and even about his experience in India and Pakistan. We are excited to share a few with all of you!
Back in the states, he travelled lots of places we got to learn about. We had some favorite learning moments, we just had to share. Many of us had just learned about Truss Bridges, in STEAM club, so when we saw this slide, we got excited! This is a COOL bridge, read closely.
Who doesn’t love candy and especially M&M’s? We loved getting to learn about where they come from in Cleveland, Tennessee and that it actually smells like the candy there in the town!
Because here in Alaska we have such strong ties to Native cultures, we were really into learning about Cherokee Nation and Red Clay State Historic Park. Some of us didn’t even know these kinds of state parks existed.
This next place was exciting for us to see because so many of have never seen a cactus in real life. Learning about Arizona was intriguing.
The stop right before us was Washington, which several of us had been too. They even mentioned us in their post when they talked about having salmon in both places.
Finally, we got a chance to share Bulldog’s Experience in Alaska, and about Alaska in general. This first slide shares a bit about our school and town. Bulldog got to eat free lunch, since we are a free lunch school!
This next slide, we are sharing Bulldog’s learning about the cool things we do at school. He even got to do some math and earn 3 Kick-it Math belts!
Here we love teaching about Alaska. These are what we often share about Alaska that are pretty unique. We love this time of year because every day it stays lighter longer until we reach summer solstice.
While Bulldog is here, we will spend a couple days letting him go home with students to see their life firsthand. More pictures may come! Having the opportunity to learn about the world in such a fun way has been really cool. We may even decide to send a mascot next year! Anyone know where we can find a Thundercat?
Today, March 22, 2018 was a great opportunity, in honor of World Water Day, to connect with a variety of individuals who helped us understand the importance of water in our life, the necessity of water conservation, what is being done to conserve water, and why it all matters! This was a great day of learning all things water!
Our ocean instructor from North Carolina Aquariums, Sarah, taught us about ocean acidification. The ocean is not very acidic, it’s called “basic”; the chemicals in the water that make it more “basic” are what the animals need to stay healthy. When the ocean becomes more acidic, it means the chemicals are changing in the water, removing the minerals the smallest ocean critters sitting at the bottom of the food chain, need to survive.
Today we got to learn about little ocean critters, how the ocean is becoming acidic, and why it matters to the little critters (which end up mattering to the big critters). When pollution enters the air, in the form of carbon dioxide, it comes back down (with gravity) to the earth. Much of the earth is covered in water, so that carbon dioxide goes into the water. The ocean is pretty good at filtering the carbon, but if there’s too much, it actually mixes with the seawater to create carbonic acid. So, you may ask, if the ocean filters the carbon, why does carbonic acid matter? Good question!
Carbonic acid prevents shells from growing, in creatures that use it for protection. It can weaken the strength of the shells, which makes them more edible for other sea creatures. If more sea creatures are able to eat them, there won’t be enough for the ones that already eat them, like sea turtles. Also, carbonic acid has lots of other badness it causes in marine life. Here is a link to find out more: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/critical-issues-ocean-acidification/
Changing oceans is a big topic the world is talking about these days and it is our job as growing global citizens that we know as much as we can. NPR (National Public Radio) did a special series called Oceans at Risk. Listen to this session, “Acid in the Ocean: A Growing Threat to Sea Life” https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111807469
In learning about the ocean critters that have hard shells, we saw why snail shells spiral! As snails grow, they grow more on the shell and it goes in a spiral pattern. The bigger the shell, with more spirals to it, the older the snail lived. Those snails need strong shells to protect from predators and live long enough to have many spirals!
Our learning today involved several of our classes having multiple virtual learning opportunities. This was a favorite: The Water Brothers are a duo of Canadian Water Conservationists who host their own TV Eco-Adventure show, traveling the world to look at water. We got to visit with them over Zoom, along with other classes around the world through an organization that brings virtual learning to classrooms called Explore By the Seat of Your Pants. We learned their story and how they got involved and why it matters. Their aim to teach the world, in a visual and engaging way, about challenges in the environment by looking at water.
We were so inspired by meeting with them that we want to share their website: http://thewaterbrothers.ca/
The Water Brothers really opened our eyes to the question of why should we care about water. Water is everything we do, everything we are, everything we eat, and everything we wear. We were shocked to find out how much water it takes to make just a single cheeseburger, or a pair of jeans!
Today’s World Water Way learning and connections left us with a few pieces of unforgettable information: 800 million people in the world do not have access to clean water, in the last 40 years, 50% of our wildlife populations have gone extinct (largely because of pollution, plastic, and deforestation), the entire marine ecosystem changes at night, and all the water that is here right now has been here for 8.2 billion years…
A concept that was new to us and quite shocking is wastewater recycling, which is taking wastewater from toilets, showers, etc. and using it again! We got to learn about wastewater treatment centers and how they work.
The most unforgettable learning experience was discovering how NASA figured out a process to recycle wastewater in just 2 1/2 hours, which astronauts do in space. That was important to figure out because the cost to bring water to space is about $60,000 a glass (because it is so heavy)! We were shocked and some of us grossed out to see people drinking water they had recently “released”. We didn’t know that all water on earth is recycled.
We left today totally inspired to think about our water choices, know more about water on earth, spread awareness, cut down on our plastic usage, create posters on our learning, and learn more about the impact, necessity, and need to be water conservationists. We are dedicated to be a part of the solution. Because we learned the connection between energy and water, we even agreed to take on a new challenge for tomorrow, Earth Hour Event Challenge. Click below for more information!
Earth Hour Event Challenge to Schools