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 1:
Story: Sharda Vishwanathan
Illustrations: Diana Castillo
Every year Kaya and Kabir visited
their granny during the summer
holidays. This year too, they were
really looking forward to the trip
and could not wait to meet their
cousins Lea, Hafsa and uncle Krish.
Bags all packed, they were all set
to board the train to Delhi. Train
journeys were always a great
experience. Kaya and Kabir enjoyed
looking out of the window of the
train as it chugged past green paddy
fields, hillocks, waterfalls and small
villages offering very scenic views.
After 16 hours of travel, they arrived at the railway
station, where Hafsa and Lea were waiting to welcome
them. Soon they were all at home munching the yummy
snacks and chocolates prepared by uncle Krish.
Kaya’s eye fell on a huge pile of books stacked in one
corner of the living room.
“Lea are all those books yours?” asked Kaya.
“No, I collected these books from my friends and
neighbours,” replied Lea.
“Why?” asked an intuitive Kabir.
“This is for a book donation drive organized by my
University,” said Lea.
“A book donation drive, what is that?” wondered
Kaya and Kabir.
“Hmmm we collect books and give them to children
who cannot afford to buy them,” explained Lea.
“But don’t their mom
and dad buy them
books just like how
mummy and papa get
us our books?” asked
“Not every person
has access to equal
“Come here,” said Hafsa joining the children in their
conversation, “Let me explain this to you.”
“Let us imagine a situation wherein
every month I give, Lea: Rs. 200/-,
Kaya: Rs. 40/-
and Kabir: Rs. 30/-.
And your monthly expenses are as
Food: Rs. 10/-, Water- Rs. 10/-,
House Rent- Rs. 20/-, School fees-
Rs. 15/-, School supplies- Rs. 10/-,
Medical expenses- Rs.25/-.”
“How would you use your money?” asked Hafsa.
“Hmmmm with Rs. 30/- I can only buy food and
water. I need more money to pay the house rent or the
school fees or even to go to the doctor in case of an
emergency,” groaned Kabir.
“But I have enough money to pay for food, water and
house rent, but would need more money to go to school
or buy books,” expressed Kaya.
“And I have more than enough to pay for all the
expenses and save some money for emergency
expenses,” answered Lea.
“But isn’t it unfair that the money has not been
distributed equally?” asked Kabir.
“Ah! Well, each of you has been given money on the
basis of your education. As Lea has finished college,
she has gained more skills and knowledge and hence
has access to better job opportunities that pay her well,”
“But we are yet to finish our studies,” asked Kaya
with a confused look on her face.
“Yes,” said Hafsa, “Once you finish your college
and gain more skills, you will have better access to
resources and opportunities that improve your living.”
“But not all children have the opportunity to go to
college or complete their education,” added Lea.
“Sometimes some families do not have enough
money to buy books or even to buy basic necessities
such as food, clothing, water and so on,” explained
“And why is that so?” asked
“The reasons are many,”
explained Lea, “a person might
lose his/her job due to health
“Or a person may be unemployed due to lack of
skills and knowledge to do the job.”
“And sometimes natural calamities like floods and
drought force people to leave their land, their home
and migrate to other cities in search of employment,”
“Do you mean like aunty Diya who helps mom
with the household chores?” asked Kabir.
“Exactly! Aunty Diya and her family did farming
in their village. But due to severe drought, they had
to leave their village and move to the city to look
for a job.
And because they have no technical skills and
cannot read/ write well, her husband works as a
labourer in the construction site and she is forced to
work as a helper,” explained Lea.
“Because they cannot afford child-care, their
daughter Maya is forced to miss school and look
after her siblings,” added Hafsa.
“This is called social inequality, a situation in which
people are not equal because some groups have more
opportunities, power, money, etc. than others.”
“You mean some people are rich and some are very
poor,” said Kaya thinking aloud.
“Then how can we bring equality so that no one is
poor?” asked Kaya and Kabir.
“As children, you can save your books and donate
them to organizations that teach kids who come from
disadvantaged backgrounds or families that cannot
afford to educate their children,” said Lea.
“Can we also organize book donation drives in our
school or our neighbourhood,” shouted Kabir excitedly.
“Yes you can. You can also talk to your teachers
or parents and organize summer schools or weekend
classes for girls like Maya in your school and help them
learn different skills,” said Hafsa.
“Can we also give them money?” questioned Kaya.
“Money is just a one-time help. Once you spend the
money you are back to being poor.
But when you help a person gain knowledge and skills,
it goes a long way in creating a better and an equal
world, where every person has better access to different
With this Kaya and Kabir decided that when they go
back to school, they will discuss with their friends
and teachers and together will organize activities for
children from disadvantaged backgrounds in their
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