New Delhi, September 9th 2016: Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs awarded the winners of the 3nd Nanhi Chhaan National School Essay Contest, held at Vasant Valley School, Vasant Kunj, today. Armaan Suhail of Welham Boys School, Dehradun was declared the winner and Saumya Sharma of Mayo Girls School, Ajmer, was the runner up of the essay contest.
Chief Guest Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs congratulated the children and said, “The refugee problem is a complex problem involving humanitarian issues as well as rights of the indigenous people. It is good to know that young children are thinking about the issues such as refugees. I am very impressed by the selection of the topic of the competition and the opinion of the participants. These children are fortunate to have the resources. Therefore, they have a big responsibility towards the society. The government must listen to voices including that of children and take action that is in the best interest of the nation.”
For the third consecutive year, Nanhi Chhaan Foundation organised a national level essay contest with a topic that is not only a major concern for India but is also a daunting and grave global challenge. The topic for this year’s essay contest was “Refugees are our collective concern”. It is not that well known that women and children are amongst the worst affected populations of any refugee problem. Remember the picture of the three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed on the Mediterranean Sea shore, or more recently, the bloodied five-year-old Omran Daqneesh? Through the National School Essay Contest, Nanhi Chhaan hopes to raise awareness and to educate young citizens of the country about the hardships faced by refugees and to invoke them to seek solutions. Refugees often face conflicting responses from their host countries ranging from empathy to downright antagonism. Sensitising young minds to be positive thinkers and seeking their views on such important issues, bodes well for a future citizenry that is both well informed and well engaged. Nanhi Chhaan seeks to achieve precisely that objective when conducting such contests amongst today’s youth.
Mr. Harpal Singh, Chairman Nanhi Chhaan Foundation, said, “A civilised society is one where refuge is provided to the seeker, where the young become champions in support of the poor and the disadvantaged and where empathy and giving become societal norms. Through the schools essay contest Nanhi Chhaan hopes to develop an ethos where India's children engage with the country's social agenda.”
Students from 10th and 11th standard from top schools across 20 Indian states and 2 Union Territories, sent entries for the national level contest. The entries were then carefully scrutinised by members of the Delhi Literary Society with the semi-final being held a day before the finals on the 9th of September when a panel of eminent panel judges decided the winners. Prizes including i-Pads and cash awards were given to the winners. Top 30 students will also be participating in a week-long friendship and Personality Development Program to be held at NIIT University – Neemrana in December.
The finalists displayed immense understanding and sensitivity on the issue and also showcased exceptional oratory skills during the group discussion round. The jury of eminent personalities including Mr. Rajendra Pawar, Chairman-NIIT, Ms Satyavati Berera- Chief Operating Officer of PwC India, Mrs. Indira Mansingh- Chief Advisor at Development Alternatives, were amazed by the thoughtfulness, depth and purity of thoughts expressed by the participating students.
About Nanhi Chhaan Foundation:
Launched in 2008, the Nanhi Chhaan Foundation is a not-for-profit organization set up with the objective of addressing three important issues on the social agenda of the country namely, the adverse gender ratio (and women’s empowerment), preservation of trees (and environment protection) and lack of Inter Faith harmony (promote secularism). In an inspiringly new approach the Foundation seeks to make a positive impact for protecting the girl child and for preserving trees by invoking the positive power of faith. The initiative cuts across all segments of society and faiths and invokes citizens to act to raise awareness and to actively participate in corrective actions. By achieving these objectives, the Foundation seeks to restore Nature’s balance which has been severely disturbed during the last few decades. Nanhi Chhaan seeks to become a National movement which hopes to move the social agenda by closely working with Educational Institutions, civil society, governments, NGO’s, the corporate world etc. The initiative is supported by eminent personalities including-His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk of Bhutan, Mr. Salman Khurshid, Mr. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr. Tejendra Khanna, Dr. Prannoy Roy etc.); institutions such as CII, Hospitals, Schools, World Wide Fund, etc. MR. HARPAL SINGH, Chairman Emeritus, Fortis Healthcare Ltd, and Chairman of Save the Children, India, is the chairman of the Nanhi Chhaan Foundation.