Ahead of the school annual vacation that began on 23rd April, the District Collector of Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh had written individual letters to each of the students in the government schools of the district, asking them to follow good sanitation practices.
“I have a small request for you. Our Chief Minister has asked me to give you the Swachh Andhra Mission message. You can do this during the coming holidays,” Shri Vivek Yadav, Collector and District Magistrate wrote, listing ways in which students can support the cleanliness campaign that will also ensure good health.
“Make sure you wash your hands with soap after toilet use and before and after your meals. Always use a toilet, do not defecate in the open. If you do not have a toilet at home, tell your parents to build one before your school starts again,” the Collector added, as he invited students to either contact the Sarpanchs of their respective villages or even write or call the Collector himself for any assistance. The email address and mobile number of the Collector were listed below.
In closing, he appealed to students to spread awareness about cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation to their families, friends and everyone in the village. “I am sure you will help me in this mission and that I can count on your support,” the letter said.
Commenting on the school sanitation programme, District Education Officer, Arunakumari said that they have been passing on the message of good sanitation practices in schools on a regular basis. Whether at a school assembly or parents’ meeting or even in regular classes teachers would remind students about hand washing before and after meals as well as after the use of toilets.
Earlier in March, teachers had sent handwritten post cards to parents of children whose homes did not have a sanitation facility. In addition, registers were maintained in schools which recorded which students had toilets at home and those that did not. “We saw a gradual increase in the number of students who had toilets at home, and that was a good sign,” she said.
As for the Collector’s letter, students were receptive as they said they would try their best to convince their parents.