Children empowered to control their future and be the change

January 3rd, 2011 by Kiran Bir Sethi

“Contagious is a good word,” said Kiran Bir Sethi. “Even in the times of H1N1 I like the word. Laughter is contagious, passion is contagious, inspiration is contagious.”

Kiran Bir Sethi, the founder of Riverside School, speaks at TED about empowering children and infecting them with the “I Can” bug.

She discovered that if learning is embedded in a real world context, children go through a process of awareness, where they can see the change, enabling, where they can be changed, and empowerment, where they can lead the change.  This process increases their well-being.  Children become more competent and less helpless.

In August 2007 children set out to infect the Indian city of Ahmedabad.   Since then “every other month the busiest streets in Ahmedabad, India are closed to traffic and converted into a playground.”

“On 15 August 2009 we empowered 100,000 children to say ‘I can’.”  “We designed a simple tool kit and reached 32,000 schools.  We gave children a very simple challenge.  Take one idea (anything that bothers you), choose one week, to change one billion lives.”

“It took one man to infect an entire nation with the power of “We Can.” If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

As Kiran Bir Sethi said “Contagious is a good word.”

For more information please visit the Riverside School website.

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