Ours is a society with many contradictions. While we aspire to a better life and environment, we try to insulate ourselves from the problems around us. We protect our children from social issues instead of letting them take charge and solve those issues themselves. The result is children growing up disconnected from the social reality.
Here are some reasons to bring change and expose children to social issues:
1. Key to success – Many organizations like UNESCO have researched the set of skills children should learn to be successful in the 21st century. With the rapid changes in work environment, academic excellence won’t be enough. Building citizenship and socio-cultural awareness is a key 21st century life skill which can ensure a successful career.
2. Future Leadership – Children are the leaders of future. They will be faced with decisions which will have dire consequences for the humanity. Their decisions can be environmentally and socially conscious only when they understand the issues deeply from a young age.
3. The x factor – This is the age of competition. Children constantly need to differentiate themselves with their experiences to stand out in a crowd. It not only builds a different perspective, but also a depth of character.
4. Part of society – They are a part of the society and are directly or indirectly will be affected by its issues. They are the citizens of tomorrow and will need to bear the consequences of our actions. Issues like pollution, water scarcity, lack of public transport, safety, inflation etc will impact them as much as the under-resourced sections of our society.
5. Skill building – Working on real world projects give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge which makes learning real for them and builds skills like problem solving, collaboration, research etc.
6. Builds critical thinking – All the social issues and complex and inter-connectedness and working to solve any one of them pushes the students to explore the complexity involved. Students need to apply a lot of different thought processes to come up with innovative solutions pushing their thinking.
7. Fulfillment and satisfaction – Working on real world social challenge and see the impact of their actions is a satisfying experience for everyone, especially for children. This builds self belief and confidence among children and gives a much needed sense of purpose.
8. Mentoring support – Most of the organizations working to solve social issues are happy to support children in their initiatives. This creates a strong ecosystem of mentors and social entrepreneurs who are willing to guide and motivate the children in their endeavor.
9. Career as an Entrepreneur – Experiences like these also open up a different career option for the students as a social entrepreneur. Being a social entrepreneur is fulfilling and challenging at the same time – it will be a preferred career choice in future!