World Comics India organised a grassroots comics exhibition at the RASTA learning centre in Barola on 23 February. RASTA is a partner organisation of the HCL Foundation. The exhibition was attended by 70 children between the age group of 7-12 years and the teachers present at the centre. The exhibition contained Grassroots Comics on various environmental issues such as the use of chemicals in fruits, kitchen gardening, waste management, conserving water, the importance of trees etc. These comics were created by common people and not some professional artists. The comics were not displayed in a closed room but out in the open in a park so that children could be closer to the environment while reading and learning about it. Ms Lalita, who is a teacher at Chetna recognized her own comic that she created last year and as a proud creator, she read out her comic to all the children present out there and the children were happy and inspired to see their teacher’s comic story.
With every comic story children read, discussions were started on critical issues such as water conservation, the importance of trees, waste management, etc. As children’s curiosity rose, they wanted to go beyond just reading the stories to sharing the issues that came to their minds. They talked about the medicinal use of some plants, conserving rainwater, showing empathy to animals, etc. As their ideas came forward, they were keen to make comics of their own and then we distributed them the format for Grassroots Comics.