Anti-Smoking Campaigns in Schools – Speaking Through Theatre

ICS, Indian Cancer Society, Bangalore has been a forerunner in launching campaigns for cancer awareness, cancer detection, and emotional support in Bangalore and Karnataka.

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Recently ICS, BLT (Bangalore Little Theatre), Amar Chitra Katha and The Hindu joined hands to host a family entertaining play “Maya Bazaar” across auditoriums in Bangalore. This hilarious play is an offshoot of the Mahabharata created with characters from the epic. Excellent direction and acting by the entire BLT team has been a big crowd puller and the proceeds of the play will be used for supporting paediatric cancer patients.

 

About 2000 students from 20 different schools in Bangalore have watched this play and more than 3700 people have watched it in different auditoriums of Bangalore. In NPS, HSR Layout and Kumarans shows were held in their auditoriums, while students and teachers from other schools and institutions watched Maya Bazaar in New Horizon College’s auditorium.

In a recent initiative, Vijay Sharma, the Hon. Secretary of ICS Bangalore, has taken cancer awareness campaign to a different level. ICS in partnership with Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT) has started “Say No to Smoking” campaigns for 9th to 12th grade students in different schools of Bangalore.

Why This Initiative of Anti-Smoking Campaign?

Smoking is the single most preventable cause of pre-mature deaths.  It can result in many types of cancer, heart attack, pneumonia and bronchitis. Smoking is believed to be one of the main causes for Lung Cancer. Survival rate is very low in case of Lung Cancer and most of the time it is detected only at an advanced stage. But smoking is a preventable cause and it has been found that 90% of adult smokers start this habit when they are teenagers. So if anti-smoking awareness can be created among teenagers then that will be the best way to nip smoking habit in the bud. Thus ICS has come up with this innovative idea to use students to spread the anti-smoking message and awareness amongst themselves.

Why do Teenagers take to Smoking?

Most teenagers while they are growing up try to look matured, older, and cool. They come under peer pressure and try to copy others to fit into a group or to look good. The result of this is to experiment and take to smoking and very soon, even before they realize they turn into habitual smokers. So, it is important to instill anti-smoking awareness in them and make them realize the ill-effects of smoking.

How is the Anti-Smoking Campaign Structured?

anti-smoking-pic-2Till December 2016, about 7 schools have signed up for this campaign. To start with there is a discussion or workshop on anti-smoking with a small group of students. The students work in teams, identify a set of questions; reach out to people with these questions and get real-life stories on how and why people take to smoking.

 

 

anti-smoking-pic-3Based on these real-life scenarios, each team writes a creative, engaging, and entertaining script for a skit. Their script and one of their final rehearsals are reviewed by experienced actors and script writers from BLT.

The students work on BLT’s feedback and finally act out the play in front of a bigger student audience.

 

anti-smoking-pic-4During the show, the students also display Anti-smoking posters with catchy phrases and slogans designed by them. Till November 2016, schools like NPS HSR Layout, Koramangala, and Kumarans have held the workshops for their students.

 

 

ICS and BLT are also hosting the play Maya Bazar in some of the educational institutions as part of the fund-raising process.

– Arpita Bhattacharjee