A unique appeal to keep the district clean and healthy was made by differently abled individuals of Moradabad district in Uttar Pradesh on 18th March, 2018. The one-of-a-kind event involving more than 3,303 divyangs who made a formation along the outline of Gandhiji’s spectacles made it to the Limca Book of World Records.
“Simply called, Divyang Swachhagraha, the activity was inspired by the Prime Minister of India’s “freedom from dirt” concept, while taking on the passion of the independence struggle so that everyone who organized and participated in the event could relate to it,” said Aayushi Bhardwaj, Zila Swachh Bharat Prerak (ZSBP), Moradabad; pointing out that Divyang means Specially Abled and Swacchagraha means Appeal for Swachhata (cleanliness).
The objective of the activity was to include the specially-abled in Swacch Bharat Mission and seek their help to motivate the rest of the district to stay clean and healthy, she added.
It was while working on the field that the Chief Development officer (CDO), Moradabad, C. Indumathy observed that just providing toilets to specially-abled beneficiaries did not serve the purpose, as many people were not able to use them. Since then, with the guidance of the previous Commissioner of Moradabad, L. Venkateshwarloo, she sought CSR (corporate social responsibility) support of various organisations and banks to help the specially-abled of rural Moradabad.
In no time the District Magistrate, Rakesh Kumar Singh, also followed up on this initiative and successfully mobilized and distributed ‘potty chairs’ to some identified beneficiaries in the beginning. That’s how the story of inclusion of the specially-abled in Swacch Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) of Moradabad began.
Taking a leaf out of the books of CSR departments of a few companies, that extended support to the SBM-G, various other banks and organisations similarly showed interest in helping the specially-abled. Owing to this help, the district administration was able to add a component of ‘Potty Chair Distribution’ to severely challenged people (who were identified at block level) in the event as well. Apart from this, every identified specially-abled from rural Moradabad was motivated to be a part of this mission.
The district panchayati raj office played a major role in terms of financing and monitoring of the Divyang Swachhagraha event. From identification of specially-abled, to making the platform where they had to sit within the frame of Gandhi Ji’s spectacles, everything was done by the government machinery provided to District Panchayati Raj Officer.
The district magistrate ensured effective convergence of different departments for monitoring. While officers of various departments were responsible for transporting the specially-abled individuals from various blocks to the event venue, the administration made all provisions for transportation upto the gram panchayat. This was made possible because of active participation of all district officers. Thereafter, with the support of Gram Pradhans, the divyangs were taken to the venue.
The ZSBP played a major role with support from the ZSBP of the neighbouring district Amroha, Sunil Kumar Singh. From collecting names of the differently-abled in each of the blocks, to deciding on the theme for the world record – a human chain; making of the structure of Swacch Bharat Mission Logo on the ground across an area of 100 X 120 mtrs, to motivating the contractual staff of Swacch Bharat Mission to support the campaign; assigning duties to the DPRO machinery to mobilising a taskforce of students from a nearby college – Vivekananda Hospital and College of Nursing, a lot of planning had gone into the organizing of the event. Around 150 students volunteered for the campaign and each of them was allocated tasks.
As many as 3303 Divyangs gathered at one place for the event and the amazing spectacle of Divyang Swacchagraha was completed within 3 hours and recorded at 8:00 AM on 18th March 2018.
As far as the outcome is concerned, the event brought together people from differently walks of life including differently-abled to work for a common cause, and is bound to accelerate the SBM-G campaign. It is also expected to pass on the message to the PM who has always shown concern, keen to make life better for the specially-abled, particularly in the smallest unit of the society which is a village. Not only will this promote the mission further, people will be more sensitive to the issue of inclusion and making toilets divyang-friendly. At the end of the event, many new faces registered their support to the SBM-G campaign.
(Inputs: Aayushi Bhardwaj, ZSBP-Moradabad)