Reel change: Montgomery kids’ movie project aims to educate about Sikhism


Children at the Sikh temple at the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation in Rockville gathered Sunday to watch the movie “Sikh Kid to Kid,” in which Sikh children answer questions from non-Sikh children about the religion. “If people learn about it, they’ll be less ignorant, and it will prevent future events like in Wisconsin,” Hana Kaur Mangat, 13, said. (Bill Ryan/THE GAZETTE)
April 3, 2013

Some Montgomery County children and teens are taking their message of understanding directly to their peers with a movie, hoping that education can bridge gaps between people of different religions.

Hana Kaur Mangat, a 13-year-old from Potomac, and about 30 other kids ages 8 to 14 at the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation Sikh temple in Rockville made a movie called “Sikh Kid to Kid” to teach their peers about Sikhism.

“It’s all kids, because it’s directed toward kids,” Hana said. “I think kids would be more intrigued by other kids rather than by having adults explain (Sikhism) to them.”

In the movie, non-Sikh children ask questions about the religion, and Sikh children and teens answer, Hana said.

The idea for the movie grew out of a debate club led by Hana’s mother, Harminder Kaur. After a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., in August, Kaur and some of the children in the club wanted to express themselves and combat ignorance.

“During the time when all of that happened, there was quite a bit of fear,” Kaur said. Making the movie “was such a healing experience for them.”

Hana said last year’s shooting was a shock, especially because America is such a diverse country. She wanted to educate people about Sikhism because the shooting was not the first time Sikhs have been victims of hate crimes.

“If people learn about it, they’ll be less ignorant, and it will prevent future events like [the one] in Wisconsin,” Hana said.

On Sunday, the children, their parents and a few others screened the finished product at the center in Rockville. Kaur is planning a bigger screening for local teachers and others who are interested. She hopes to share the movie with schools and enter it in competitions.

She said educating kids and people who work with kids is crucial.

“Life really begins in childhood, and I think we change and we mold ourselves depending on how we are taught,” Kaur said. “In order to coexist, I think our thinking in childhood should really be that of coexistence.”

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