Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Virtual Zonal Competition by Students and Teachers Signifies the Importance of Tobacco Control and Nutrition

Mumbai: “If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery. It wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all!” said Michelangelo about his creations which are renowned worldwide. Thus using art as a medium, Salaam Bombay Foundation organised a virtual extravaganza titled “Innovative Initiatives by Students and Teachers on Tobacco Control and Nutrition Amid Covid19” which was one of the biggest platforms for young students from government schools to express their views on healthy living – a topic of utmost importance in an era of changing lifestyles. The 15th edition of the zonal event took the virtual route this year witnessed students displaying their talent in the form of craft, drawings/posters and videos in the form of solo acts, songs and presentations with help and guidance from their teachers. And this time even teachers were a part of the competition where they were judged on the basis of innovative ideas for online teaching that they came up with during the pandemic.

The programme was entirely organised and managed by the young students of Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Preventive Health Programme – a classic example of a virtual event being organised by the youngsters for the youngsters. Saturday was the finale of the event which witnessed entries from 300 students and 40 teachers from 120 schools for all the four categories. The judges for the event were Mr. Yogesh Kurade, craft teacher for BMC school children; Mr. Dhammrakshit Randive, actor and director for Marathi and Hindi drama; Mr. Pramod Raghunath Mahajan, Art Centre Head at NST Department, Mumbai Municipal Corporation and Ms. Suvarna Ghaisas, Head of the Music and Arts Dept.,Mumbai Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

The event provided a large-scale opportunity to ‘at risk’, underprivileged community students to showcase their talent in various art forms. Students communicated and reiterated their learning about tobacco control and healthy dietary habits. The youngsters conveyed messages through solo performances of skits, songs, presentations, posters and craft on the positive outcomes associated with healthy behaviours in adolescents. In spite of the challenges that COVID has thrown at them, the zeal to learn and ideate did not stop the students from coming up with such magnificent creations and performances.

Speaking about the event, Ms. Tshering D Bhutia, Vice President – Preventive Health and Nutrition, Salaam Bombay Foundation said, “While this is an annual experiential platform given to BMC students to express their views on tobacco control and their right to a tobacco-free environment, this year the pandemic has been a catalyst in taking this event online. The focus however includes nutrition, which is of great relevance in these pandemic days. Poor nutrition has many negative outcomes and debilitating effects on academic outcomes as well as physical and emotional development. Our students are aware of this. They are also aware of the need to sensitise others. This zonal event is their platform, where their voice will be heard.”

Keeping in mind the need of the hour, the final winners were awarded data packs which would help them in meeting their internet connectivity requirement which has now become a necessity as children are required to use internet for attending their online learning sessions. Many students end up missing out on their online classes due to lack of internet or insufficient data packs. The 1st Prize given away was a data pack for 1 year, while the 2nd prize was a data pack for 6 months and 3rd prize was a data pack for 3 months. Salaam Bombay Foundation has also started #BridgeTheGap initiative – a campaign that is initiated keeping in mind the current need of the hour where internet consumption has increased and so far the foundation has raised INR 3 lakhs which translates into 1200 data packs.


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