For Immediate Release:
11 November 2011
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]
Puja Mahajan; [email protected]
Goal is to Have Compassion for Animals Taught as Part of the Official Curricula Across India
Mumbai – Compassionate Citizen – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s humane-education programme for children ages 8 to 12 – is getting stellar reviews from Bollywood stars as well as from educators, environmentalists, child psychologists and even police! The group released a bevy of ringing endorsements for the programme on National Education Day and in the lead-up to Children’s Day (14 November). Lara Dutta, Raveena Tandon Thadani, Anupam Kher, Jackie Shroff and environmentalist and The Energy and Resources Institute’s director general, Dr RK Pachauri, are among those who have offered praise and encouragement for Compassionate Citizen’s positive effect on children, tomorrow’s citizens. The programme’s teaching materials feature John Abraham and Jackie Shroff and teach young students always to respect and appreciate all others regardless of their race, religion, gender, wealth or species: the sort of inclusive mindset that will bring a more peaceful and understanding world.
“Including Compassionate Citizen in school curricula will go a long way in building a new generation of socially aware children who have a better understanding [of] and respect for animals and the environment they live in”, says Dutta, a soon-to-be mom.
“My children have always been surrounded by rescued animals at home and that has inculcated love, compassion, and respect in them”, says Tandon Thadani. “An educational programme like Compassionate Citizen will help develop empathy and appreciation for animals, the environment they live in and people.”
Kher says, “There is no better approach to teaching children the value of human life than instilling in them an appreciation for all life. If you can teach a child to respect and protect the smallest and most maligned among us – as PETA’s humane-education programme does – you create a better citizen.”
Shroff adds, “Compassion is what I learned from my mother, and, for me, all children should imbibe this virtue of caring and feeling for all living souls. Compassionate Citizen, I feel, is the perfect programme to help children develop respect for animals.”
Compassionate Citizen offers teachers tools and lesson plans to teach children to view animals as feeling, sensitive beings. Most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals but learn cruelty from society and often lose sight of their compassion. It is well documented that violence against animals by children can often lead to future acts of violence towards fellow humans.
Compassionate Citizen is already being used in nearly 2,500 schools across India, reaching out to more than six lakh students. This includes The Doon School in Dehradun; Delhi Public School, Springdales School, the Mother’s International School and Sanskriti School in New Delhi; and Jamnabai Narsee School, Lilavatibai Podar and Ryan Global School in Mumbai. PETA will now work towards getting Compassionate Citizen included in the official curricula in all schools across India.
Here is what other prominent figures are saying about Compassionate Citizen:
• “I believe if we want a world with peace, contentment and happiness for all, then we have to educate children on the importance of love and respect for all living beings, for Mother Nature and for people across the globe. When I had the privilege of accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, I referred to the age-old Indian belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which teaches us that the universe is one family. All parts of creation are part of this universe – animals, birds, plants, people, and much more. Gandhi ji was right as always when he said, ‘If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children’. I wish your efforts with the Compassionate Citizen programme all success.”
– Environmentalist Dr RK Pachauri
• “The programme is a good initiative to encourage young minds and sensitising them in developing compassion towards animals.”
– Srinivas Swamy, Principal of The Doon School
• “Our students not only expanded their knowledge but also gained an insight into the world of our fellow living creatures. Moreover, they have been motivated to take action in their own small way to protect the rights of animals by spreading awareness.”
– Dr Meera Mahadevan, Principal of the DY Patil International School
• “After thoroughly studying the details of the programme, I find this programme to be effective in creating empathy, love and tolerance amongst students. Animals reciprocate to human emotions and have always been considered as ‘man’s best friend’. All we need is to sensitise our youth towards the growing concern about the declining human values of love and care. As the programme involves children from standard first onwards, it influences students from the grass-roots level. I wish you good luck and congratulate you on such an innovative approach.”
– Vithika Rahul, Head of Department, Psychology, Delhi Public School RK Puram
• “In today’s age of endless violence, compassion sometimes seems a rare quality. It is now a well-documented fact that many murderers and other criminals have a history of cruelty to animals. Teaching compassion to young children can be a good preventive measure in the effort to reduce crime. Compassionate Citizen is an apt tool that can be used to sensitise children about being kind and respectful towards all beings, including animals, and to help build a less violent and more peaceful society.”
– Prakash Krishna Gawane, Senior Inspector of Police, Thane, Maharashtra
For more information, please visit CompassionateCitizen.com.