The Corporation Schools in Chennai have done a wonderful job in association with Tulir, an organisation working towards prevention and healing of child sexual abuse. These schools have prominently displayed boards which tell children about safe and unsafe touches and this has made some students come forward and share with their teachers the abuse faced by them. A very good initiative and it is high time that child sexual abuse is not talked about in hushed tones. It is better to realize the wide existence of it and address the issue as the damage it causes is severe trauma for the innocent children. All the schools should come forward to display such boards and talk about the subject to the children and more importantly train the teachers to handle the issue. Workshops for teachers on counselling techniques are being organized by Tulir, the NGO and it is up to the schools to invite them to visit their schools and talk to the students as well as the administrators.
Read about the pathetic story of the helpless women in Vrindavan in The Hindu last Sunday. Abandoned widows leading a terrible life with meagre food and almost non existent sanitation...We are cocooned in our cushy lives with our small concerns and talk at times as if we represent the country. But reading such articles and seeing the images in this blog http://widowsofvrindavan.blogspot.com/index.html gives a feeling of helplessness and the reality stares at our face. India has a long way to go in terms of providing for all its citizens the most basic requirements and a life filled with dignity and hope.
A good friend started talking abut Dr.Binayak Sen and I was reacting as if I knew everything about him. But then when I read the article in 'Kalachuvadu' I became curious to know more about the good doctor. And what I learnt about him was amazing.
The life of a police constable needs no elaboration. He toils hard and struggles to make both ends meet. It is not surprising then that most of them turn bitter. But then it takes a hero to beyond the ordinary. And that is what S.Raja, a police constable is. He takes the effort to talk to people about getting rid of the addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and chewing tobacco. The Police department is thinking of posting him to the special cell that is being planned to be created to handle de addiction. Hope his efforts are recognized and he is motivated to do more.
I like listening to Commencement Speeches. A Commencement Speech is an address given to graduating students in some of the universities in USA by an eminent personality. As expected the speeches would be full of passion and vigor, packed with advice and distilled wisdom.
A friend recounted one such speech given by Charles Bolden Jr., NASA administrator at the California Institute of Technology in 2010 and so I watched it. Charles Bolden exhorted the students of Cal Tech to follow their passion and make life better for someone else. He talked about how President Kennedy challenged NASA to send men to moon and bring them safely back to earth and how that challenge energised NASA. And then he went on to share with the graduating students what President Obama spoke some months back at the Kennedy Space Centre:
" But here’s what President Obama
asked us: Was that historic Apollo 11 mission the end of something, or the
beginning? Are we the heirs of Neil and Buzz and inheritors of their spirit of
exploration, innovation, and risk taking, or do we lack the courage, the
wisdom, and the vision to continue their journey? The answer to these
questions lie not with my generation but with yours. For your generation
will be the one that will either turn away from great challenges, or will follow
in the footsteps of your fore parents."
How motivating....words capable of inspiring a student who is already raring to go. I just can't help thinking about our Universities and our students. We have no dearth of talent; our students are on a par with the best of students in the world. But are we motivating them enough? Are we giving them the best of environment to grow and prosper? How then can we blame them and complain of brain drain?
Charles Bolden talked further about three Core Values - Honor, Courage and Commitment.
But the story he ended his speech with was most inspiring - the story of Nkosi Johnson of South Africa, who died of AIDS when he was 12 years old. He made a powerful impact inspite of his short life. His words: