I do not know whether poverty and the lack of mirrors are somehow connected. For sure, mirrors are not really one of the most important items in a household, and if the income is very limited many other things come first. However, it seems to be symptomatic: I visited a huge number of small houses in rural and tribal villages in India or poor families in the cities and I hardly can remember a house or room with a mirror at the wall. I am sure there are small mirrors available – somewhere, somehow. Small ones, but not that kind of mirror where you see yourself entirely, e.g. before leaving the house. The “self-check” – just thinking of the dressing time in front of a mirror or of trying certain effects, “body language” and observing yourself – is not possible.
Even in public buildings mirrors are rare. If they exist, they are just for adults – at a height that is not reachable for the children.
The idea to have a simple mirror where the children can have a look at themselves and try out many gestures, mimics and themselves came up a few weeks ago when we discussed with kindergarten teachers in a learning center of the Karl Kübel Foundation for education and development (KKID) in the surroundings of Coimbatore. I understood that self-perception and the way on how we perceive what is happening around us depends a lot of how reality is seen and in which context we are able to put it. Enlarging horizons and understanding different realities need space and opportunities. But how can self-perception be developed if people and especially children never have a chance to see themselves and trying out so many things in front of a mirror? Isn’t it there where we all can test so many things?
However, the teachers were very enthusiastic about the idea to have a mirror in the kindergarten and the investment was not really high for us to sponsor a few. (See https://goindiagofuture.com/2015/04/21/drawing-a-dream-anganwadi-perceptions-visions-and-dreams-of-different-worlds/ ) .
Today, I got a note that the mirrors had been bought and brought to the kindergarten buildings. The KKID has sent me some photos showing the kindergarten children looking with a lot of curiosity to themselves. I’m very happy to see it. There is not that much to add. Just: It is not always the big money that makes change happen. Often a small contribution can make a huge difference. And the dedications of people who make things happen. Thanks to all those who actively contributed to make this happen!