Fun and frolic marked the brilliant two-day Urban95 festival held at the Nehru Children’s Park in Udaipur on September 16 and 17, 2023. More than 3500 children, 250 teachers and Anganwadi workers, and more than 1,500 parents participated enthusiastically in the event, held jointly by the Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC) and the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), with technical support from ICLEI South Asia and Ecorys India Pvt. Ltd.
It was quite evident that the children were having a great time at the fest. They could be seen listening attentively to a storyteller, browsing through colourful books hanging from the branches of trees, trying their hand at making clay toys on a potter’s wheel, being thoroughly entertained by a magician’s tricks, learning rope walking and being mesmerised by ‘talking’ puppets. Some won much sought-after prizes in the crawling and ring games.
For good measure, Udaipur’s health department checked the children’s growth parameters and prepared health cards. The accompanying parents were also involved in various interesting activities and provided information on positive parenting by the team of the Parent Plus programme, Pune.
Hon’ble Mayor Mr Govind Singh Tak inaugurated the festival, in the presence of Hon’ble Deputy Mayor Mr Paras Singhvi, Commissioner Mr Mayank Manish, BvLF’s India representative Ms. Ipshita Sinha, as well as representatives of other organisations.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Tak said, “In today’s busy lifestyle, parents are not able to give enough time to their children, and children also spend most of their childhood in front of mobile and TV screens. In such a situation, this festival will inspire children and their parents to spend time together in the natural environment outside the house and participate in various activities.”
In his comments, Mr Singhvi said that the urban development model should be such that toddlers and their parents feel safe while going out of the house, adding that the city’s parks, streets, roads, footpaths, etc. should be child-friendly, and that there was a need to hold such an event every year.
Mr Manish appreciated the opportunities being provided by the UMC for children with the help of the Urban95 programme. He said that the festival was a good opportunity for educating young children through play and for providing more information about positive parenting and better care. Ms. Ipshita Sinha pointed out that to make a city safe for children, it is necessary to look at urban planning through their perspective. Urban95 is a global programme of the BvLF, aimed at making cities accessible, comfortable and safe for children.