Q8india.com, The well-known news portal in Kuwait recently had the pleasure of having a chat with Mrs. Sherly Dennis, Principal of ICSK Junior. She spoke about her journey in Kuwait and the steps ICSK takes to educate children to be responsible citizens and get them closer to nature.
Q. Tell us something about you and your family.
A. My husband works in a shipping firm. We have three children; two sons and a daughter. Both my sons are engineers and my daughter is a doctor. She is doing her Final year in MD.
Q. How long have you been in ICSK?
A. I came from Gujarat and settled here in 2008. I joined as a teacher, next I became the Vice Principal, and then I went on to become the Principal of ICSK Junior.
Q. Can you tell us more about the Journey, how it started?
A. It started with simple thoughts about how children become responsible citizens. We have a very strong and supportive management that supports in all the activities.
Last year our students of class 5 and 6 from ICSK Junior went for a beach clean drive organized by the diving club of Kuwait. The organizers said that it’s the first time students from a younger age group participated .And we did a wonderful job. We found great enthusiasm amongst the students and a change in their attitude. Once the students were back, we asked them to express their experience by drawing on the walls of the school corridors. It was amazing, the way they brought out their creative ideas through drawing, and it worked out well.
This inspired me to start the initiative of educating kids on menace of plastic which has become a curse to the society. If we don’t teach our future generations, we are going to kill ourselves slowly. So we got associated with Omniya, a Kuwait agency. We had already planned for wall painting by students. We had conducted a competition for the students. The best posters were to be painted on the walls by the interested students. In the meantime, Omniya contacted us, I thought it’s the best opportunity to educate the students and spread the awareness. Involvement of students is very important so they become aware of hazardous effects of using plastic. If that message goes home, one family changes and then they are able to make changes in their neighbourhood, the goodness then spreads throughout the society. That way, we are giving back to the society.
Q. How is ICSK committed to society, and how long has ICSK been into such activities?
A. ICSK is the only school in Kuwait, which is committed to Indian community, we have only Indian students. We provide free education to the financially weak students & we are the only school in Kuwait to provide free education to the needy Indian students.
Carnivals are conducted in two of our branches, ICSK Khaitan and ICSK Senior, the latter is jointly organized by ICSK Amman, ICSK Senior and ICSK Junior and the money collected is used to help more than 100 students with their annual fees.
In our school, all types of students study, from the lower strata to the higher strata, and there is equality and justice among all students.
Also, Social activities like Beach cleaning, plastic awareness, planting trees, cultivating vegetable garden, have been started to keep kids close to the nature. It’s all about educating and getting them closer to nature. It’s like the motto of ICSK
Q. What are the projects of ICSK?
A. Knitting is another project that has had a tremendous impact on the students. Complaints from the parents about their wards watching too much TV has reduced. Also as it’s the winter time, the students are eagerly completing their hand made mufflers and caps and they want to finish as much as possible. During the break, they come and show me what they have made.
We plan to have plants in all the classrooms. Children will take care of the plants and that gives them positive energy, and again, gets them closer to nature. When we take care of nature, nature will take care of us.
Q. How is ICSK planning to reduce plastic use, planting trees and conserving nature?
A. We have started with the collection of plastic water bottles. This morning, when I was coming to school, I saw a water bottle being thrown on the road & I picked it up. I want to show people that we practice what we preach. We want to continue with the project of collecting water bottles.
At the end of every academic year, we collect all the old and used notebooks and textbooks. And we send it for recycling. Otherwise those books would end up in garbage. That is how we do paper conservation.
We also practice energy conservation. The children are made aware that if we are not using any electric appliance, we should switch it off. It’s now become a habit amongst children, when they leave the class, they switch off all the lights and then go. We must educate the children to use only how much is needed. Like food, we should not waste food.
We at ICSK Junior are trying to inspire our children to choose right food like vegetables and fruits over junk food and have a colour based theme for their tiffin. During this December, on Sundays, it’s the colour red, so the children have to get some red coloured fruit. On Thursdays, they have mixed basket i.e. they can get any fruit or vegetables. Children do follow the theme. And the children are doing very well in their studies also. Once they understand all this, there is a sense of responsibility and in the class we have fewer discipline issues. And I give importance to home cooked food. I go to the classes and appreciate them when they get home cooked food. We also have a water break. We don’t ring a bell, we just play music and then they know it’s time to drink water. Many parents have also appreciated this.
Q. What message do you want to give from ICSK to the community?
A. Teach and prepare the children to live. Avoid junk food. Live close to nature. Teach them values. And that what we are propagating through all our activities done in school. Wherever you are, whatever position you are, what you are is very important. If you have to justify your position, you have to be practising what you say and that is what we want to inculcate in our students, and students will show the society, which will be a lesson to the society.
An initiative like beach cleaning drive is a lesson to the society. And free education to students from poor financial background, who cannot afford to pay but want to continue education here and be with the family is another noble initiative. We provide them with the platform to study. Many parents come forward to sponsor education for some kids. I consider it a social responsibility and I am proud to be a part of this institution. And all this is possible because of our very strong and supportive management, it’s all about helping the students to pass on values to the society.