An important Indian festival is Deepavali or Diwali, associated with the act of lighting lamps (“diyas”) in the evenings. The term Deepavali refers to “rows or series of lights”. Deepavali symbolises the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. The Sanskrit epic of ancient India, Ramayana, shares the story of how Lord Ram, banished into exile for 14 years, returned home to the kingdom of Ayodhya having rescued his kidnapped wife Sita from the clutches of a ten-headed demon. The festival of lights continues to celebrate this auspicious victory as did the people of Ayodhya.
These joyful celebrations should bring about illumination, for example, by learning something new or doing something different. This year to commemorate Deepavali at KIS, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) led an upcycling awareness project. Upcycling is an activity which turns discarded objects into new products. Compact discs (CDs) are a form of waste made of polycarbonate and aluminium which should be disposed of responsibly. Often CDs are thrown in the bin and end up in landfills. Our upcycling project turned unwanted CDs into decorative items; unique daytime ‘diyas’ which once hung around the school, will shine and shimmer during the day.
Each upcycled CD carried the name of the student who painted or decorated it. Once the celebrations are over, these decorations will be carefully packed away to be reused next year. A record of 229 (two hundred and twenty nine) CDs were successfully upcycled during the inaugural installation and display. In conjunction with this, Dr. GT Rajendran representing Malaysia Hindu Sangam (Sabah Chapter) was present at school to officiate the ‘Largest Display of Upcycled CDs by KIS Students’.
At KIS, our mission is to encourage students to reach their full potential as future global citizens. It was heart-warming to see students from different backgrounds and nationalities contribute to these Deepavali decorations. This is very much in line with our global citizenship aim which encourages participation across the whole school community.
Creating awareness of how we can be better citizens of the world as well as helping to look after our environment is a step in the right direction. We cannot change the world overnight, but we can take small steps. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “in a gentle way, you can shake the world”.
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