Khayali Pulao gives children platform to dream

Students take a swing at issues of climate change and environment.

Mavra Bari July 26, 2012


Matters pertaining to global warming, littering, water shortage and wasting of resources have started to gain importance today. From scientists to movie directors, people are trying to increase awareness about environmental issues. Following the same line of thought, sixth to ninth graders from the Liberal Arts High School in F-7 Islamabad recently took their unique spin on topics related to climate change by using visual storytelling as a medium at a 10- day workshop with the White Rice Imagination project titled ‘Khayali Pulao’.

Around 20 students demonstrated their ability for script writing and direction by releasing three short films: Connect 06 – Just Do it, Anonymous – Denied and Undercurrent – 5 seconds.

The workshop aimed to empower children to prove that their dreams are not just figments of their imaginations, but can be translated into worthwhile insights when given the right platform. “The culture of children being seen but not heard still persists heavily, but if we don’t value the thoughts of our children how can we expect them to be confident and creative adults,” commented Soofia Asad, the photography specialist at White Rice.

Asad further stated that the topic of climate change was chosen to make children aware of issues in which they can offer a helping hand. “Through recycling, conserving water and energy, these children can make a tangible difference as well as educate and inspire others to do the same,” she added.

For instance, the work of students Hundaa Qamar, Alizeh Faran, Rida Rizvi and Huda Rana in Undercurrent – 5 seconds, sends out a public service message about water wastage with stark visual statements like “in just five seconds we waste 3.5 million litres of water” and “four gallons of water go down the drain while we brush our teeth”.

There were also films which were more comical and theatrical in nature, like Connect 06 – Just Do It, which depicts how two obese men with digestive flatulence sit on a bench and crib about global warming while constantly littering, with hypocrisy being the main premise. Actors Alishba Saadat and Sadia Waheed humourously showcased their detestable characters; when karma gets them in the form of bird droppings, no sympathy is felt.

By cleverly showing that being indifferent to the environment hurts everyone at the end, all the videos shared a similar theme but had their own voice. “I always thought making movies would be easy but this workshop showed me how much hard work it takes but the feeling of accomplishment is worth it,” ninth grader Sana Shoukat said. She also noted that she has become more environmentally attuned since the workshop by conserving energy and picking up litter from the streets.

Asad said that while this project was limited to the Liberal Arts High School, the next project which is scheduled for December will be open to other schools as well. All the short films of ‘Khayali Pulao’ are available on YouTube for viewers.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.