“We really want this project to reach all of our students through different kinds of engagement and focusing on ideas that explore, interrogate, educate and respond to the connection between the environment and diversity, including gender equality and racial justice.”
Study Hall Educational Foundation
Study Hall Educational Foundation (SHEF) is an inclusive non-profit organisation with decades of experience and a track record of transforming the lives of millions of children, particularly those of girls and young women. SHEF’s interventions focus on community engagement and norm change, influencing government systems to be more equitable and running a network of model schools and outreach programs in rural and urban India. Our uniqueness and merit lie in our egalitarian inclusiveness and our holistic, social justice-focused approach to directly address the patriarchal system in India.
A new sense of hope
Amongst their own creative responses, everyday adjustments and environmental actions, the young people from SHEF were increasingly aware of the absence of conversations surrounding climate change in their local communities. Through workshops on topics such as sustainable menstruation products and plastic alternatives; individual projects such as robot coding and public interventional practice; and collaborative creative activities such as song-writing and Ecobrick building; themes of hope thread throughout all the actions the young people were taking.
The young people were very much inspired by the need to protect India’s rich heritage and cultural diversity. In a city such as Lucknow where children come from very diverse backgrounds, it is often difficult to find common ground where they fully understand each other’s struggles and contexts. However, this project became a catalyst and daily motivation to make lasting change. They began to genuinely consider what impact the climate crises has on their own lives as well as the lives of others.
The young people tried to find creative and engaging ways to invite people to respond to the climate crises in their own local contexts, encouraging small changes in everyday life that can make a big difference. One of these methods was to make pledges. Each of the young people from SHEF made a small pledge which proposed what they are now going to do differently to limit plastic and waste production in their own lives. These range from using eco-friendly stationery and biodegradable pencils to planting multiple trees every year. They also hosted a Plant Adoption Drive, where over 500 students adopted a plant sibling, naming it and sharing care duties of the plant with fellow students in their class. This began to embed empathy and eco-conscious practices within the young people’s everyday lives.