Children from Northeast and Delhi Connect on Cultural Diversity through Letters
Children from remote villages of the Northeast and the national capital, Delhi are engaged in understanding each other’s culture and diversity in a unique way - by exchanging letters.
The initiative is aimed at addressing multicultural diversity and, end racial and ethnic discrimination among children through the almost forgotten art of letter writing.
“Discrimination against people of Northeast in Delhi is not new and through this exchange of letters among children we are attempting to create a human connect among children who are at a geographical distance from each other,” Vibha Lakhera, managing trustee of NGO Reachout Foundation, which has launched the initiative, told PTI.
A pilot project on ‘Say No To Discrimination’ was initiated in Alok Bharti Public School of Delhi to create awareness and sensitise students and teachers regarding multicultural diversity, its acceptance, how it manifests in the schools in the form of favouritism, silent treatment, bullying, teasing, exclusion and discrimination, she said.
At the same time, an exchange of letters and cards was carried out among students in Delhi, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to learn about the diverse cultures of these states, Lakhera said.
“The whole process captures the exchange of energy and emotion that goes into writing a letter, posting it, eagerly awaiting a reply and finally receiving one,” she added.
The Foundation in collaboration with India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi is currently holding an exhibition titled ‘Postcards of Change: Letters to and from Northeast’, displaying the letters written by children from Delhi to the Northeast and vice versa.
It will display handmade cards, hand imprints with messages about local festivals and letters exchanged among students from Delhi and five schools of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh which gave them a chance to interact with complete strangers but also to learn about different cultures.
“The idea behind this activity is to introduce students to the slowness and deliberate way of communicating with their counterparts who they had never met and who belonged to far off places which were not familiar to them,” the foundation’s executive director Kishalaya Bhattacharjee said.
The project saw a lot of insightful and touching stories being shared through letters and cards by the children.
Sanjib, a class 8 student of U N Academy School of Kachugaon in Assam’s Kokrajhar district wrote to a student in Delhi that one should take care of their younger siblings and love them as they are so precious which he realised after the death of his brother during floods.
“His pain and suffering of losing a sibling was evident in the letter and students in Delhi also came to know about Assam, its places, people and also floods,” Bhattacharjee said.
Aman Chakma, a class 6 student of Sneha School at Diyun in Arunachal Pradesh writes about his school, village, neighbours and how they help each other, family parties, going to markets and his hobby of playing football.
Culled from The Week