Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cleanliness Awareness Month - An effort by Team Paritraan - Swacchta Hi Seva - Clean India Mission

As a part of Clean India Mission (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan), our Honorable Prime Minister - Mr. Narendra Modi, launched yet another initiative - Swachhta Hi Seva, last month. He requested participation of all citizens of the country. And the country responded. From Bollywood Celebrities to Indian Cricket Team, from students at Schools to Professors at Universities - many have answered his call, which indeed is for a great Cause. The target - to honor Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birthday in 2019, by establishing a Cleaner India.

Most people are organizing cleaning campaigns, where they are clean certain places. However,  in my  humble opinion, we should also deal with another aspect - Let's not dirty India. In all honesty, if we don't dirty our surroundings we will rarely need to Clean it. For this Awareness is required.

I am leading Team Paritraan in my hometown Saraipali (Chhattisgarh) for creating cleanliness awareness in rural and semi-urban school children. Human Psychology tells us that the values we learn during childhood become part of who we are. So we are starting with the heart of the problem - teaching children about benefits of a clean environment - better Physical and Mental Health, Hygiene, lesser diseases and increased tourism etc. We help them inculcate healthy and clean habits e.g., the habit of throwing garbage into dustbins.

It is to be noted that the period from 20th September to approx 20th October is of great significance. We had and will continue to have various festivals during these days - Agrasen Jayanti, Navratri, Vijay Dashami (Dussehra), Muhharam, Gandhi Jayanti, Bhai/Bhaiyya Dooj, Chhoti Diwali and Deepawali/Diwali. Though we do and we should celebrate these festivals with zeal, lots of waste products are generated during these days. Fire-crackers create dust and smoke - in one word - pollution. We encourage students to be aware of the type of fire-crackers they are using and to clean up the surroundings once they have fired up those fire-crackers.

We have conducted such workshops in five different Schools now. And plan to continue in more schools further. We are doing this by making them write 'Essays' on Clean India, and by practical examples of their own surroundings.

It is also important to note that, if we teach children not to dirty their surroundings, they will learn that. The more careful and caring a citizen is, the less he/she will spoil and/or dirty his/her surroundings. So before we encourage people to clean already dirty places, we need to ensure that we are training them not to dirty the places. Our training sessions focus on that.

We hope that this will help our Honorable Prime Minister - Mr. Narendra Modi, achieve his mission of a Clean India by 2019.

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