A walk through the Government School in Poolamedu panchayat in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu and you are bound to be impressed by the cleanliness of the surroundings. The clean environment is a result of the painstaking efforts of the head mistress of the school, Ms. Deevika.
Ever since the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) was launched in the district, the school head was inspired to do everything she could to make her students and staff comply with the recommendations of the district administration in order to make the school environment both clean and healthy.
Every morning, students begin the day with a sanitation pledge during prayer time. There follows the ODF (open defecation free) attendance where students answer if they practice open defecation or not.
She has also been motivating her students to segregate their waste and put the same in the allocated bins – blue for dry waste such as paper and plastic; and green for wet waste. There are about 200 students in the school and she has encouraged them to keep their surroundings clean both at home and at school, while emphasising the need to use toilets.
Owing to her constant efforts many school children have persuaded their families to build toilets at their homes.
Moreover, the steps she has taken have instilled a civic sense among the pupils. Owing to the efforts of the head mistress, the entire panchayat is now ODF. During the recent Republic Day function, the District Collector honoured Ms. Deevika, bestowing on her the title of sanitation champion.
(Inputs from ZSBP-Cuddalore)