Mangaluru, Oct 2, 2017: Mahatma Gandhi fervently believed in the saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” so it was only fitting that on his 148th birth anniversary or Gandhi Jayanthi, students of grades 9 and 10 of Manipal School cleaned up a dirty spot outside their school and also lighted up the wall with bright paintings.
Houses and shops around the school had been using an area outside the school gates as a dumping ground for their household waste. This had been attracting cows, dogs and crows and was proving to be an eye sore. The spot fixing activity included washing and scraping a portion of the school wall off moss stains, clearing up rubbish and cutting weeds.
Once that was done, the students and all the teachers pitched in to paint the wall with 2 to 3 coats of terracotta paint to give it a neat finish. Then the art teacher, Deepesh Raj drew outlines and the children helped to fill them in with white paint, in the style of ‘Kaavi’ painting famous in the Konkan region. The idea now is to gradually paint the remaining school walls on the outside with the hope that spot-fixing will deter the locals from dirtying the area.
The school has also signed up for the NDTV Behtar India Campaign. According to the school’s Community Service supervisor Mrs. Shilpa Moger, the campaign requires those children who have opted for Community Service to perform a few tasks that will benefit society. The first is to speak to all the classes and raise funds for buying anti- malaria and dengue kits, which will be distributed to areas prone to these diseases.
The second task requires the children to identify an area and clean it up. The third task is to plant 300 saplings on barren land. The principal Mrs. Anuradha Shivaram, has identified land near Vamanjoor for this activity, which has to be completed by the 25th of October.
The question is, will all these activities really have any effect on the students? “We hope that it has a good impact on the students. Doing lots of community service makes you feel like doing things for people. It was really amazing to see the energy of the students and teachers”, says Mrs. Shivaram. There is also the added advantage of students working together, pitching in with ideas and polishing their presentation skills.
While the students have taken to heart the importance of cleanliness and have done their bit, the hope is that the momentum of their effort is picked up by the neighbors and Corporation officials.