SWACHH SCHOOL TO SWACHH BHARAT

WIN­NER: Pal­ghar, Ma­ha­rash­tra WHY IT WON: An aware­ness cam­paign has helped teach stu­dents ba­sic habits to main­tain clean­li­ness

India Today - - SAFAIGIRI AWARDS - —Ki­ran D. Tare

AT A TINY PRI­MARY SCHOOL IN Karan­j­pada, in the Wada taluka of Ma­ha­rash­tra’s Pal­ghar dis­trict, Deepak Shan­ware has taught his stu­dents to wash their hands with the help of a song he made up. In 2,812 gov­ern­ment schools in Pal­ghar, stu­dents have been taught five clean­li­ness habits—bathing daily, brush­ing teeth twice a day, wash­ing hands be­fore eat­ing, us­ing toi­lets and trim­ming nails reg­u­larly.

The dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion had com­pleted con­struc­tion of toi­lets in each vil­lage by 2015, but af­ter notic­ing that they aren’t be­ing used, they started an aware­ness cam­paign and a clean­li­ness drive.

“We have suc­ceeded in pro­vid­ing clean drink­ing wa­ter to al­most 99 per cent of the schools,” says Tushar Mali, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (wa­ter and clean­li­ness) of Pal­ghar zila par­ishad. “Ev­ery school has hand­wash fa­cil­i­ties and a unit of clean drink­ing wa­ter for ev­ery 40 stu­dents.”

Ham­ra­pur sarpanch San­deep Go­vari says the clean­li­ness drive has changed his habits too. “My 8-year-old son made me give up the use of plas­tic bags,” he says. A swachh school is the foun­da­tion for a Swachh Bharat. ■

GOOD HABITS A song helps school stu­dents re­mem­ber to clean their hands prop­erly

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