A few Mumbai schools participating in the Swachh Bharat campaign have gone beyond mere daylong clean-up drives. These schools have taken up initiatives such as building toilets for women, waste-recycling projects and even plan to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in a similar fashion every year.
As part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, parents and students of GD Somani Memorial School (ICSE), Cuffe Parade, have contributed funds to build 20 sanitation units for women in the rural areas of Sangli, which lack proper toilets. The school will work with Habitat for Humanity, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to construct the stand-alone units. The NGO is aiming to build one lakh such units during the next year.
“These sanitation units are especially for women and hence more expensive to build," said BD Seymour, principal of the school. He added that it will not be a one-time activity. "We will continue to support more units in the future so that women are comfortable. Our students will also pay a visit to the sites."
Similarly, Bal Bharti Public School, Navi Mumbai, has decided to extend the activities started under the campaign for more than a year. The Ministry of Human Resource Development circular had asked schools to carry out the activities from September 25 up to October 31 or till August 15, 2015. “Doing the activities for a day or two is not a problem, but it is a bigger challenge to get students to do these activities on a daily basis,” said Ganesh Parameswaran, principal of the school.
The school will involve the students’ council to plan regular clean-up activities for students. “We will come up with plans such as stipulating one hour service every week for students at home or at school,” said Parameswaran. “It will help them to understand the dignity of labour and respect people who clean up the city.” The school is also planning to send the clean-up pledge signed by students and staff to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Another school, Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli is planning to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi every year on October 2 by conducting various activities. “We were unable to call students on October 2 this year because we were informed on a short notice, but from the next year we will conduct such programmes every year,” said Seema Buch, principal.