“Cleanliness is Next to Godliness”
The thought of the people to live in a healthier environment have been kindled by the launch of “Swach Bharat” drive in the country and as a result many local NGOs and other service oriented organizations are doing their bit here and there to keep the environment clean. AIET, a unit of Alva’s Education Foundation was also inspired by the Swach Bharat drive and gave a clarion call for “Swachh Mijar” in the year 2014.
In response, nearly 4000 enthusiast; students from various schools and institutions, self help groups, women groups and various organizations, wielding the brooms, participated in the cleanliness drive in Mijar village. Minister of State for Youth Empowerment, Sports and Fisheries, Sri K Abhayachandra Jain, kick started the campaign, along with Dr. Mohan Alva, the chairman of AEF. Sri Amaranath Shetty, Ex – MLA, Smt. Tulasi Maddineni, CEO, Zilla Panchayat, Dakshina Kannada, Sri Ganesh Karnik, Vidhana Parishad Member, Sri Rajesh Chowta, MITE President, Dr. Peter Fernandes, Principal, AIET, Sri Vivek Alva, Managing Trustee, AEF, Sri Sayeesh Chowta PDO – Tenka Mijaru Gram Panchayat, were present.
This mega event has made us to realize that participation of the local residents also with our team of students and faculty members would be helpful in making the program more effective. So the village was divided in to nine segments based on major routes and they were adopted by different Heads of various Departments under Alva’s Education Foundation. Cleaning program was carried out with the participation of local residents also with the team of students under the supervision of the designated Departmental Heads in each segment, on different dates in 2015.
During the drive, the team has given advice on the necessity of segregating non-decomposable waste. Posters/banners were displayed in each segment two to three days earlier and removed on the day of operation, replacing them with placards and street plays to create awareness about the need to keep the environment clean.
Subsequent meeting with the local area leaders, Tenka Mijaru Gram Panchayat PDO, Panchayat President and members, Student Coordinators and Faculty Coordinators have shown promising support and they are responsible in drawing up a new plan for 2015-16.
According to the new plan, the entire village is adopted by the AIET. The village is divided in to 8 segments (instead of 9 in the past). Each segment is taken care of by a team of about 300-600 students apart from the locals, under the supervision of the Department Heads. Each team will undertake a minimum of two cleaning operations in each segment in the year and the plan is being executed as scheduled. In addition to the cleaning program, AEF has also planned to provide color wash to the parapet of wells, bus stands and causeways with warli art in order to enhance the beauty of the village.
Swachh Mijar program in Mijar is now witnessing:
- Change in the minds of people about the practice of defecation in open field.
- Disposal of wastes in proper way.
- Change in the attitude in disposing wastes.
- Increased awareness about keeping their environment clean.
More important is the change in the youth, particularly our beloved students. Thanks to Swachh Mijar campaign, for it has made the students to realize their responsibility to render social service for the well-being of themselves as well as the people around them and thus become responsible citizens.