Planting seed bombs on World Environment Day

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The inclusive education program for children with disabilities is more than an environmental message

The inclusive education program for children with disabilities is more than an environmental message

On Saturday, World Environment Day, Ahzana Nazrin planted a young rambutan tree and sent pictures of it to her teachers. The day before, the Class 3 student of SNV Upper Primary School, Kattuputhussery, Pallickal, Thiruvananthapuram district made seed bombs and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ahzana, who suffers from hearing and visual impairments, in addition to heart disease, made 18 seed bombs as part of World Environment Day celebrations organized by the Samagra Shiksha, the resource center in the Kilimanoor block (BRC) of Kerala.

Ansi Farook, Ahzana’s mother, says her daughter loves plants and trees and understands the purpose of seed bombs and was therefore very keen to make them. His teachers’ comments made his day.

Many children with different abilities find it difficult to sit still and concentrate on one thing, but when an activity such as making seed bombs is involved, that’s a whole different matter. Completing the activity is also a confidence boost.

Nearly 720 students with disabilities, including those with visual impairments, from Kilimanoor BRC have been participating in the making of the seed bombs since the beginning of the month with the support of a video prepared by a special education teacher.

The seeds are covered with a layer of compost and hidden inside small balls of soil and then dried. The idea is to get students to plant the bombs on the grounds surrounding their homes or scatter them in open spaces once the lockdown is over, or gift them to friends and neighbors as part of the celebrations of the World Environment Day.

A shower or two later, they will be able to see the labor of their love sprout and take root where they were sown, adding to the green cover. There are also other objectives: increasing biodiversity, conserving water and soil, purifying the air, thus helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. Seeds can also be stored for a long time this way, germinating when given water.

Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities (IEDC) trainer Vysakh KS, who runs the seed bomb program with the help of 13 special educators, says it is more than just an environmental message to these students.

It helps in the development of fine motor skills, overcomes tactile defensiveness and improves hand-eye coordination and concentration in these children. As they discover and learn about seeds, how they grow into trees and how to care for them, there is a natural increase in their environmental awareness. Each child was asked to make at least 10 seeds. Some even made 50, says Mr. Vysakh.

Ansi says the family is involving Ahzana in various BRC-designed online activities as the lockdown has put a pause on meetings, classes, stage programs, therapies, and more. which were held regularly. “We were very concerned initially, especially since children cannot go out during COVID-19, but there are a host of activities organized online for children by the BRC.

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