Smiling children with placards in their hands greeted the Rotarians of District 3232 at Pathipaga Chemmal K Ganapathy Government HS School in Chennai during an awareness event to mark Global Handwashing Day. Over 2,000 students participated in a talk on handwashing techniques and how to adopt best hygiene practices for healthy living. RC Madras Mount joined hands with the Interact club of the school to sensitise students on the health benefits of handwashing. “We are maintaining the four toilet blocks — two each for boys and girls — by spending Rs 10,000 a month. Two years ago, we renovated the blocks through a global grant,” says Club Secretary Padma Ramamurthy.
The club has installed a smart classroom and an overhead projector which are being put to good use. In 2014 and 2015, cash incentives were given to the top three rankers in Classes 10 and 12 exams.
S Ilaikya (Class 7), holding a placard along with her friends, nodded her head vigorously when asked if she was following the rudiments of handwashing at home. They are taught how to wash their hands and ward off harmful germs by their teachers.
Addressing the students, WinS Vice Chair P T Prabhakar said WASH in Schools was one of the flagship projects of Rotary that instilled civic sense and best hygiene practices among students across India. “I am happy to see that the Interact club is active and creating the right impact on the students.” He recalled Gandhiji saying how cleanliness was more important to him than Independence.
The gender-segregated toilets on each floor were being maintained well, he noted. G Gunavathy, District WinS Additional Chair, gave a demo on handwashing techniques. In the last two years, nearly 30 handwash stations were installed in D 3232 through global grants, said the District WinS Chair Ram N Ramamurthy. “This year we have so far organised handwash demo-cum-lectures in 85 government and aided schools,” he added.