James Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon once said, “If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." What's heartening about this quote is that it states, “than a lot of humans...”
We see and hear so much about cruelty towards animals in our society. However closing our eyes to the plight of animals will no longer do. The need of the hour is to build a generation that can lead a change of propagating love towards that part of society which can't speak for itself. It might be easy to feel love, loyalty and gratitude towards each other as humans but can we do the same when it comes to animals?
That's why St. Columba's decided to start young, as our little boys have the power to influence almost anybody. So the students of Class 1 along with the support of their teachers began an Outreach Programme about being kind to animals.
Through videos and discussions the children were sensitized towards the current plight of animals and how this can be changed with simple acts of love and affection. The various class activities that were held, included making of animal bookmarks, pop up books, masks, charts, etc., to create an understanding and awareness about the various types of animals.
To see whether their enthusiasm would be encouraged as they got promoted to higher classes, 5 boys headed to the Middle School on the 27th of January to interview the Middle School Headmistress, Mrs. Sheel, who welcomed them and answered all their questions with an open heart and a warm smile.
As part of the Outreach Programme a group of 35 boys along with Mrs Lovely Brahma, visited Friendicoes, an animal shelter in Defence Colony on the 29th of January 2020. The children enjoyed playing with their little furry friends and their concern about these puppies was evident in their interaction with Ms. Amanda, the person in-charge of Friendicoes.
Earlier, the boys had conducted a collection drive in school which was a huge success as the children donated whole heartedly. They were able to collect medicines, food and items of daily need that the shelter required to help the less fortunate animals.
PETA (People for Ethical Treatment towards Animals), an organisation that works towards the welfare of animals and helps spread awareness, was invited to give the children a small presentation. So on the 13th of February, Ms. Pooja came all the way from Mumbai to interact with our young hearts, who participated with equal enthusiasm.
Overall, it has been a successful program. The foundation has been laid. As a society, it is now our responsibility to carefully lay the stones of this path, along with our children to ensure that it leads us into a world where feelings of love, understanding and gratitude will no longer be limited to only humans but also to animals. Let's build a world with these young children the way God intended it to be...FULL OF LOVE AND FREE OF CRUELTY!