When Aarohi Chaudhuri, 11, read about a child grievously injured while bursting diwali crackers last year, he pledge not to burst crackers.
He resolved to donate the saved money to spread cheer among underprivileged children .
Eight other students of Lilavatibai Podar School in Santacruz joined Aarohi in playing secret Santa to the less privilege children this Diwali.
“We are a group of nine school friends studying in Class 5, Class 6 and Class 7 fromthe colony who have started a campaign – Ecofriendly Diwali,” said Aarohi.
Like last year, this year too they visited more than a 100 households in 13 housing societies around Santacruz (West).
“We appealed to parents that instead of spending money on firecrackers they donate the money or gifts for the needy children,” Aarohi added.
The nine children have slogged it out during their fortnight-long Diwali holidays going through neighbourhood localities collecting donations.
They have handed over the money to Goonj, an NGO which supplies school material to children in remote villages of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.Although they came across people who turned them away, this didn’t shake their resolve.
“We kept visiting homes without giving up hope. At the end of 10 days, we collected a few thousand rupees and a lot more clothes, soft toys, stationery items and school bags,” said Naman Moreli, a member of the Eco-friendly Diwali campaign.
The effort by the children will help children children in distant villages of Mandwa,Balaghat, Shezwada amongst others in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
“The proceeds of the donations collected during the Eco-friendly Diwali campaign are being used in the School to School Project run by us in remote villages,” said Arvind Kumar, a team member from NGO Goonj.
Torn jeans are restitched into school bags and water bottle covers. Used books with spare paper are recycled to make hard bound notebooks and are distributed to schoolchildren with an incentive to get them attend school.
“We are receiving a phenomenal response, thanks to the responsible city children whohave decided to think beyond bursting firecrackers and contribute for the needy children,” Kumar added.