Friday, 22 February 2013

Wanting change - the children show us how

Padli village school was our Thursday afternoon visit and it was so good to see that small children can really make a big difference to the implementation of change.  The village has 131 houses and the population is 950. Mainly dependent on agriculture.  Before intervention the sanitation situation was not very encouraging.

The school children played an important part in the drive for cleanliness.  They had morning rallies (which is the time most defecation occurs) having outdoor games at morning and even blowing whistles when seeing someone going to the toilet outside. With these children going home and campaigning for toilets in the home this was again raising the awareness. At school they were shown how to wash hands and keep clean.

There is almost 100% sanitation coverage with most houses having a toilet with only a few still being constructed.

Our welcome was lovely as always in India. We all received out mark on the forehead and a rose. A different child delivered to each supporter the rose and they told us about the committee they were on.

A group and the principal escorted us around the classrooms. The principal was so pleased that you can now open the windows as the smell was so bad it put the children off study and lunch. The children were so proud of the work that they had done and happily showed off pictures and posters. We studied the solar system and they told me pluto was no longer classed as a planet.  Studying the same as my little boy last term.

I took a moment to show them photos on my own phone of things they had drawn such as trees, livestock, rainbows and wildlife.  As well as the snow, sunsets and my family. The school has a conservation committee and they told me that they had planted trees around the school to make it nicer now the grounds were free from human waste we wouldn't be able to sit on the rugs we were welcomed onto the mess was that bad.
The kids played games after and there was much shaking hands thumbs up and photos on way back to minibus.  

A coconut,  a rose but my most memorable gift was when 13 year old Priyanka ( one of the girls who spent the afternoon with us)  asked if she could give just one kiss. I nodded  wide eyed and she planted a sweet kiss on my cheek on that bonds a memory for life. I held her little hand and muttered words of all sorts of thanks and well wishes. In my heart i was pushing a 1000 prayers that she would grow up happy and safe. One that the Samaratans, WaterAid and the community have already proceeded to create. Work to ensure this little girl and her friends have the simple possibility to study safely and healthy.  I think I may plant a tree at home to watch grow and flourish just like this community. 

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