Organising Chimi’s parade in the Panna forest- wonderful experience !

Chimi’s Parade in Panna 28/29 August 2011

WWF and Sarva Shiksha Abhyan Kendra ( Gov of Madhya Pradesh) have a 9 month residential facility for the children of poachers of the Behelia tribe living in the Panna Tiger reserve forests. Prithvi Media and Praanah had been invited to conduct a 2 day ‘Art for Nature’ workshop for the 150 children of this residential programme. Even today the Behelias – nomadic tribals poach the Panna forests in search of wildlife. Apparently the population of larger animals in Panna has decreased drastically and even the number of tigers are in single digits ! Today wild boar and pheasant are caught and sold in markets in nearby towns such as Satna and Khajuraho.

The principle behind the initiative organised by WWF (India) and the MP Government is to rehabilitate the children of these poachers, by offering them residential facilities and educate them with skills to survive in villages and towns. All this with aim to dissuade them from resorting to the traditional occupation of their forefathers and improve their lives!

WWF (India) representatives along with the Prithvi Media and Praanah teams organised a 2 two day workshop in Panna on 28th/29th August 2011. Prithvi Media, a platform for environmental awareness in education believes that it can spread its message of wildlife and nature conservation by organising workshops, movies and publications. It has recently launched ‘Chimi’s Dream’ an animated film (dubbed both in English and Hindi) based on the story of a young boys dream about animals in a forest who are about to embark on a green parade to protest against man for spoiling their environment . The movie was shown to the 150 children at their residential centre . They understood the message loud and clear – animals too have a right to a clean environment clean air fresh water and pure air! The children were then given musical instruments and divided into groups and along with their teachers coined a slogan

“ Lets go forward ,lets go forward .

We the children of the forests have pledged to save our jungles.

We the children of the towns have pledged to save our jungles!”

The children dressed in white ‘Chimi’ T shirts marched in two lines outside their centre beating on their drums and other instruments, cheering whilst repeating the slogan and having fun. The hot afternoon sun beating down did not deter their enthusiasm and joy !

Over the two days various activities were done with the entire group of 150 children such as reciting of Hindi poems with actions, visualisation with actions such as enacting of wildlife and the growth of a tree, drawing environmental themes on hand cutouts and building a ‘Globe of Joy’ etc.

Sangita Saxena , Mita Nangia Goswamy and Soji James from WWF India supported Laxmi Dhaul from Prithvimedia in all these activities. Bhaktiveda Dhaul from Pranaah and her team Tarunima Sengupta, Kamia Sharma and Jyotika Katyal led the activities.

On the second day wonderful wildlife films made by musician and film maker Chinmay Dunster were watched by the children with avid interest . Each child related to the movements of animals and birds and clapped loudly ! The children performed plays one of them based on the story of Brave Amrita from the Bishnoi tribals in Rajasthan based on the Chipko movement.

It was a rewarding experience and it was decided that several Chimi Parades would be organised in various centres all over India.

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