Armed with brooms and brushes, Mumbai students participated in large numbers in the Swachh Bharat Mission on Thursday. Waking up early morning on a holiday, students swept classrooms, playgrounds and school surroundings with gusto.
Most did not seem to mind coming to school on Gandhi Jayanti, usually a holiday. “Every Gandhi Jayanti, we just laze around at home. Today we actually did something useful. It was fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi,” said Wricha Mishra, Class 12 student, Rajhans Vidyalaya, Andheri.
The school provided students gloves, buckets, brooms and garbage bags, said Sunaina Nair, another Class 12 student. “The garbage mainly consisted of paper wrappers, which we carelessly throw around.”
Some students also stumbled across beer bottles. “We found beer bottles near a road outside the campus. Though I was not comfortable picking them up, I felt like I made a small difference to my school,” said Geetika Teckchandani, a Class 6 student.
Teachers, students and alumni of St Mary’s High School, Kalyan, took the Swachh Bharat mission pledge on Thursday and performed skits in their neighbourhood about Gandhi’s teachings. Other CBSE schools, such as Navy Children School, Colaba, Delhi Public School, Nerul, also conducted clean-up drives.
Many state-board schools, however, chose to stay shut on the holiday.
Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri, was one of the few state-board schools that participated in the drive. “Though it was not mandatory, we decided to participate since we wanted students to learn about cleanliness,” said Jayashree Desai, acting principal of the school.
Around 450 students from Class 6 to 8 swept the access road to the school and cleaned school furniture. The drive was followed by a special assembly, where students made speeches on Gandhi and his thoughts on cleanliness and hygiene.
“I was excited to participate in the drive and did not feel bad that my holiday was cancelled,” said Lamisha Karmali, a Class 7 student, who weeded out wild plants from the school garden.