Inculcating a habit of cleanliness and environmental consciousness in children is the sure shot way for a pollution free future. Our team at Deoriatal Base camp spent a week at the Government school in Sari village teaching kids the value of hygiene.
While we were thinking about organizing a clean-up activity at the village, Trek leader Dushyant suggested that we volunteer at the local school first and gain confidence of teachers and students.
Generous trekkers in the April 17th Deoriatal Trek Group had carried stationery for kids in the mountains. There were pens, pencils, books and posters. A week later, a bunch of us (Trek leader Dushyant,Rohan, Vysakh and myself) went to the only school in Sari village to distribute stationery.
This school offers classes until 8th grade and currently has about 100 students. It is understaffed and has only 5 teachers. The principal was delighted to have us volunteer to teach them for as long as we could. Little did we know that teaching children would be a greater challenge than scaling the Himalayas!
At middle school
The children were excited to see us. We played games and quizzed one another till they were comfortable in our company. I was both a teacher and student. All text books including those for science and mathematics were in Hindi! With my poor Hindi skills, giving English grammar lessons in Hindi was quite a learning experience. Each of us picked subjects we were comfortable with and pretty soon we sank into our roles as teachers.
It was rewarding to see them learn. Apart from the school lessons, we used this opportunity to teach the older children the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. We ended up spending an entire week at the school, teaching and learning!
At primary school
Saying that the little ones were naughty would be an understatement. They were a handful! We tried inculcating a habits like washing hands regularly. Groups were formed and they were given explanations for posters that said “Cleanliness is close to Godliness”, “Good habits” etc. We tried to inculcate in them the habit of using the dustbin to throw chocolate wrappers. The motive behind this interaction was to teach kids the importance of cleanliness, and to gain their support as well as that of the school and their families in future clean up campaigns.
You might ask, what could be accomplished in just one week? This is only a start. Our main intention is to bridge the gap between the local people and us, so that we can all work together in building a green and clean Sari.
At the end of a week, we had managed to build a good rapport with the kids and managed to recruit them on our “Clean Sari” bandwagon. In the coming months, we will be working with them towards our common mission.
Watch this space for more Green Trails updates!