Summer vacations are quite a long break for children and this is when they relax, unwind and meet up with their relatives before they start another academic year. World Vision India makes the maximum use of this time by engaging children in the Life School for Transformational Development (LSTD) programme.
LSTD is a five-day programme for children in the communities of World Vision’s Area Development Programmes in India during the summer vacation. The children are taught basic moral values, importance of education, health and hygiene, proper nutrition and child rights through songs, dances, skits and other activities. The volunteers from the community are trained by the World Vision staff to teach the children during the LSTD programme. Now the LSTD has become an international model for empowering and promoting children’s initiatives to inculcate values in children.
LSTD came into existence in the year 1997. It was initiated with 100 children in Kerala’s Alleppey district and now has more than 238,506 participating every year, across India.
The influence LSTD has made on children is remarkable. Children are able to break free from misconceptions of discrimination in the community by accepting one another, irrespective of color, race, gender and religion – thus developing harmonious and tolerant communities.
Through illustrations, stories and songs children are motivated to help the most vulnerable, know and advocate their rights. They become eco-friendly by keeping their surrounding clean and planting trees.
Children learn to respect culture and live life based on values. With active participation and lively events, LSTD has become a community festival.
All lessons are age-appropriate, so that children of all age groups, including teens and pre-teens are able to perceive and understand well.
Following are some of the illustrations which help little children effectively learn and grasp quickly.
We’d like to share a short story on how LSTD changed the life of Sadhna.
Sadhna, a sponsored child, is 17 years old and participated in her first LSTD in 2011 as a student and that was a major turning point in her life. “Before LSTD I would do as I pleased. I spent my days roaming alleys and playing. I would eat as and when I pleased and studying had no meaning,” Sadhna recalls. “LSTD changed all that for me. It taught me the importance of hygiene and nutrition, and how I’m responsible for my own health. It also taught me the importance of learning and how essential education is to help me achieve my dreams. In turn, we take LSTD home and share what we learn with our families and friends.”
“LSTD was where I found confidence. My teacher motivated me to speak. It was through this platform, created by World Vision, that I was given an opportunity to express my thoughts through poems.”
Sadhna’s poems have even been published in a book entitled ‘Uddan’ which contains the compilation of poems written by her over the years.
Following is a verse from a poem she had composed
“nahi kum hu mai, nahi kumzor hu mai. (Neither am I insignificant, nor am I weak)
Ladki hu mai aur mujhe naaz hai khudpar” (I am a girl and I am proud of it.)
Today Sadhna participates in LSTDs as a teacher. She believes hard work and perseverance will help you achieve anything.