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Our experience from the Design for Change India Challenge Event

The Design for Change challenge uses a design thinking method and is set once a year since 2009. The design thinking method uses a 4 step process that incorporates the ‚I can‘ philosophy to empower the students.
We met with the DFC staff, teachers and students to learn about their experience with the DFC India challenge and to get an insight to their experience with design thinking. The following text is the information we gathered through interviews with the students and teachers.
 
The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, is home to Design for Change and they hold an event every year to celebrate the India branch of the DFC Challenge. The event was full of fun warm ups, inspiring ideas, good food and even some dancing in the park.
 
//Design thinking in Indian schools.
By sending thousands of emails and letters DFC reaches out to schools across the country, inviting them to participate in the challenge. The challenge encourages thinking processes that should start at a young age and the DFC challenge empowered 130,000 students in 2013. Through the challenge students get the opportunity to be the change they want to see in their local community, and adopt a positive mind set in their every day lives. Many schools recognise the merits of the programme and participate every year.
 
//Positive impact
Students have so much energy and the DFC challenge is the perfect outlet for this energy to be transformed into something beautiful. Teachers across the country notice their students mellow out and focus more on their studies through the experience. It shakes them from within and they realise that they have a voice and the ability to influence their world.
 
// Feel for change
Through the means of brainstorming sessions coupled with interviewing friends and family as well as the wider community students identify issues in their lives and environment that are not getting enough attention. They hold a vote for the best idea to focus the project around and devise a plan to take action. This process is overseen by the teachers who are very careful not to impose their own ideas as it is important for the students to make their own experience. The teachers role is to mediate the sessions and assist the students when they really need it.
 
//Feel, Imagine, Do, Share.
The design thinking method works well because it is nice and simple.
Feel for the change you want to see, Imagine a solution to the problem, Do the tasks set in the plan and Share your story with everyone.
 
//The ‚I Can‘ attitude
A belief in ones ability to influence society is a message heard loud and clear through the DFC challenge. The students realise the ‚I Can‘ philosophy and become empowered through the process to live every aspect of their lives knowing that they have the ability to change the world.
 
The Design for Change challenge is taking the world by storm and has the potential to revolutionise education. Students are active in sharing their experience with friends and family through online media, while the people behind DFC and their partners continue to grow the project around the world.

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