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Reaching out to young ones: Art as a medium for children to express their views on pollution

4 March, 2005: Several months ago, SACEM organised an art workshop to help children from Semmankuppam village express their feelings about pollution. The workshop was very successful, and was followed by an exhibition of the paintings in Alliance Francaise, Chennai. A similar workshop is planned for the Sangolikuppam School on March 9 and 10, 2005.

pollution drawing
Image of pollution through the
eyes of a seven year old in
Semmankuppam

As an orientation to next week’s art workshop, a discussion on "Pollution, Bhopal Gas Disaster and Relevance to SIPCOT" was organised at the Sangolikuppam School on March 3. About 70 children from 3rd grade to 6th grade participated in the discussion. The discussion was facilitated by T. Arulselvam of SACEM who explained to the children about the Bhopal Gas Disasters and the similarities of SIPCOT Cuddalore with Bhopal. The children were familiar with Bhopal and were able to tell us the year in which the disaster took place.

Parents also participated in the program since it was a parent-teacher day for the school. The recent issue of a school girl fainting due to air pollution at Eachangadu School was discussed with the group. People explored first-aid and reporting interventions that could be adopted in the event of recurrence of such an event.

The art workshop will be conducted by a young artist, Blodsow from Cholamandalam artist village, near Chennai. His techniques of art are unique; he uses non-toxic paints and media to express art. Sangolikuppam children will be using handmade paper, red mud and charcoal to express themselves.

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