by Tale Weavers &
The Red Elephant Foundation
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable TALE
Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development, weavers
adopted by world leaders in September
2015 at an historic UN Summit, weaving tales, breaking stereotypes
officially came into force.
Over the next fifteen years, with these
new Goals that universally apply to all,
countries will mobilize efforts to end all
forms of poverty, fight inequalities and
tackle climate change, while ensuring
that no one is left behind.
Stories for Awareness is a collaboration
between The Red Elephant Foundation
and Tale Weavers to engage with
children and build awareness around the
17 Sustainable Development Goals.
This story throws light on SDG 9:
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
Illustrations: Mao Thao
Sivaji and Ujwala were very upset. Every year,
their best friend, Murugan used to visit them from
his village to spend the summer with them. But this
year, poor Murugan was not able to visit them because
his grandmother was ill, and there was no doctor in
the village to attend to her. When Murugan’s parents
went to tend to the fields, he had to take care of his
Seeing their glum faces, their mother, Prathyusha,
and their father, Sarthak, decided to help. Prathyusha
asked them, “What’s the matter, Sivaji and Ujwala? Is
anything upsetting you?”
“Yes, ma,” said Ujwala. “Murugan called us and said
that he cannot come to visit us this year!”
“And why is that?” asked Prathyusha, feeling very sad
herself, for Murugan was a lovely boy.
“Because his grandmother is sick, and he has to take
care of her!” said Sivaji.
“What happened to his grandmother?” asked
“We don’t know!” said Ujwala.
“They don’t have a doctor in the village, ma! And she
is too weak for them to take her to the nearest hospital,
which is a good four hours away!” said Sivaji.
Prathyusha thought for a moment. She and Sarthak
exchanged looks, and got up, and left Ujwala and Sivaji
wondering where they had gone. Soon, Prathyusha
returned with her laptop, and opened a website.
“Ujwala, Sivaji, don’t be upset! We can help Murugan’s
grandmother get better!” Sarthak said, smiling.
“How ma?” Ujwala asked. “Yes, how, ma? She is
weak…” said Sivaji.
“Look at this,” said Prathyusha, showing them the
website. “There is a really cool new innovation that
helps villages and areas in the world that don’t have
enough infrastructural support, access medical help.
This is called telemedicine!”
“Telemedicine? Is that medicine through a telephone?”
“Exactly! Except, Sivaji, it is not just the telephone,
but the internet, video conferencing and other means of
audio-conferencing!” Sarthak said.
“So are you saying that they can get online with a
doctor, and show them his grandmother’s condition?
But… but…” Ujwala said.
“What is it, Ujwala?” asked Prathyusha.
“But, how will they treat her? What if she needs a
surgery or a doctor’s actual presence to get better?” she
asked, looking very concerned.
“Oh that’s definitely possible! What happens is, through
telemedicine, they can connect the patient with the
doctor. The doctor will consult them, and identify what
the patient’s problem is. Next, the doctor or the hospital
will send a mobile telemedicine unit to the village, and
treat the patient if they need that much involvement!”
Sivaji and Ujwala were jumping for joy. Soon, they
were on the phone with Murugan, and told him how he
could do this using just their family’s phone, which they
had bought only last year.
It had a camera and it could also access the internet
through a great 4G connection! Prathyusha and
Sarthak shared the details of the hospital that offered
telemedicine, and soon, thanks to their help, Murugan’s
grandmother was on her way to recovery!
A few weeks later, it
was time for the summer
vacations, and Murugan
arrived at their doorstep.
Through the time that
Murugan was with them,
Prathyusha and the
children’s father, Sarthak,
noticed that Murugan,
Ujwala and Sivaji were often working, writing notes
together and discussing ideas.
Sarthak and Prathyusha didn’t ask them what they
were up to, because she didn’t want to disturb them.
Soon, it was time for the summer vacations to end.
There was just a week left, when Murugan, Ujwala and
Sivaji came to Prathyusha and Sarthak. “Ma, Papa, we
want to show you something!” they said.
“What is it, children?” asked Prathyusha. Sarthak
leaned forwards with great interest.
Sivaji unrolled a chart and held it up. It was filled with
diagrams and action points for a new project that the
children had created!
“Ma, Papa, Murugan told us that in his village, there is
only one school, and it goes on only until the 6th Grade.
This means, Murugan can’t study further in his village,
and he is too young to leave his village to come here to
study, according to his parents!” Sivaji began.
“So, we asked him why there were no other schools and
no more classes!” exclaimed Ujwala.
“In our village, there aren’t enough teachers for more
schools, and there aren’t qualified teachers for higher
classes. So, we came up with a plan!”
“Ma, just like how you speak to Sharda Aunty and
Raghu Uncle on Skype every evening, we thought that
we could ask our principal to try something called tele-
education! Teachers in our class can open Skype and
call Murugan’s school, and the two computers can be
linked up - so that the children can learn!” Ujwala said
with a flourish.
Prathyusha’s and Sarthak’s eyes grew wide in
“Yes! And in each classroom in the village, we will ask
the teachers to appoint a leader who will make note of
the doubts and ask the teacher in our school to clarify
it!” said Sivaji.
Sarthak was very amazed. “But kids, what about
notebooks, stationery and text books?”
Ujwala and Sivaji were downcast, because they hadn’t
thought about it. Murugan was slowly disappointed.
“Hey! Cheer up! You forgot about what we do!” said
The children looked up at them. “What? Forgot
that Papa and I are in the publishing business? We
can arrange for textbooks for the children!” said
“Now, let’s make a plan so that we can talk to the
Principal at your school, Ujwala and Sivaji, and the
Headmaster at your school, Murugan!”
“YAY!” exclaimed Murugan. “Now I can become a
doctor and take telemedicine everywhere!”
Tale Weavers is an initiative that
aims to engage with children and the
youth through stories that challenge
stereotypes and break the barriers in
creating a just society.
We welcome you to our world of stories
where simple conversations, colorful
illustrations, and powerful characters
help break the stereotypes and create
an inclusive learning space which is
free of bias - be it gender, religion, race,
nationality or ethnicity.
The Red Elephant Foundation is an
initiative that is built on the foundations
of story-telling, civilian peacebuilding
and activism for sensitisation on
all drivers of peace - gender, race,
nationality, colour and orientation.
The initiative is titled “Red Elephant”
to stand out as a vehicle that projects
stories that must never be forgotten:
stories that show you such courage that
you should never forget, and stories that
show the world such profound lessons
that the world should never forget. In
doing so, the initiative aims at creating
awareness and opening up channels
of communication towards creating
societies of tolerance, peacebuilding