These Kids Mapped Their Neighborhood to Organize Polio Vaccinations

Posted by Mary Slosson

These children living in the slums of Kolkata, India are young community organizers. When they realized their homes did not appear on Google Maps—instead there was a void, a blank space—they worked to count every residence on every street and map their own neighborhood. 

They then used the map they created to organize a polio vaccination campaign, making sure every child in their community was protected against the disease.

Not bad for a small group of teenagers, and even more impressive when you consider the odds against them: poverty, lack of access to reliable water, the prospect of early arranged marriage and balancing basic education with generating income and putting food on the table.

The filmmakers behind the documentary The Revolutionary Optimists captured these kids' amazing activism in their new film, and give us all an example of how to be better neighborhood residents and community members.

Two of the children who star in the film, Salim and Sikha, will be featured on stage during the TEDxChange hosted by Melinda Gates on Wednesday, April 3. You can watch the live broadcast from anywhere in the world. More information here. Get inspired!