Empowering children to create change

By Lorrin Windahl.

Change is often difficult. It takes time identifying the problem, coming up with a suitable solution and then actually implementing it. As adults we get set in our ways and are often reluctant to modify our behaviours. But what if we taught these skills to children? Well, Kiran Bir Sethi has done just that with her Design for Change programme which is being taught in schools all over the world.

The programme, which started in India, promotes the idea of ‘I Can’ to children and empowers them to solve immediate problems around them. It is based on four simple stages of design thinking: Feel, Imagine, Do and Share (FIDS). The children observe a problem, imagine a solution, implement changes and share their story.

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It is such a simple process of design thinking that the programme has grown from the curriculum at the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, which Sethi founded, to schools, both public and private, all over the world. Children work on problems both big and small. From schoolyard bullying to heavy schoolbags to plastic waste. Nothing is outside the scope of these changemakers.

The programme has become so popular that the Design for Change team has published several books sharing the stories of change from around the world. And the programme is still growing. It really is fantastic to see children empowered and driven to be heard. Perhaps Whitney was right, “children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…”

 

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