From Karnataka to Haryana to Uttar Pradesh, Support My School project is helping children bring about some basic change

Several schools across rural India have scarce resources like limited power supply, absence of helpers for toilet cleaning, non-availability of funds for repair of water purifiers, and more. However, the local authorities, teachers, principals or children didn’t know that something could be done about this. And that the solutions could be in their own hands.

The Coca-Cola NDTV Support My School intervention, in association with various partners, such as Plan India, Charities India Foundation, SRF Foundation and World Vision India, not only helped build better infrastructure in schools across the country, but also helped the people take ownership of responsibilities. In various schools, as a part of their sustainability model, different teachers are assigned roles to monitor and maintain different facilities. Challenges such as short power supply and non-availability of funds for repairs are dealt collectively by teachers.

“Our area faces erratic power supply. As a result, filling up water tanks was a big problem. Therefore, I ensured that even if the power supply is a hurdle, I can come early and switch the motor on, so that the children can use toilets easily and also wash their hands as and when required. This was our responsibility.” says Manoj, a teacher of Primary School, Basantpur, Lucknow.

After Support My School, the teachers collectively decided not to leave the structures provided for the children defunct.

“Sweeper allotted by government hardly turns up. So, we have hired another person to clean toilets regularly and pay from our pockets. We have received the infrastructure under Support My School. Now it is my responsibility to maintain it,” says Suman Mishra, Principal, Nadeeha Middle School, Kanpur.

Even other responsibilities like looking after components provided under Support My School, such as safeguarding and watering plants, looking after sports equipment and more such duties are being assigned to different teachers.

That’s not all. The habit and attitude of taking up ownership is being passed on to the students as well. Students have taken upon them the responsibilities through Bal Swachhta Committees, student parliament, sanitation clubs and eco-clubs to maintain the interventions made under Support My School. This helps manage the facilities and lend a sense of ownership - they own the positive change happening in their schools.

The school cleanliness committee is dedicated to keeping the toilets and classrooms clean. A team of 10 girls and boys each form a part of this group, supervised by a teacher. They practice a peer-monitoring system, wherein every child maintains cleanliness in toilets.

“We should wash our hands with water and soap after using toilet. The cleanliness committee ensures that no one leaves toilet dirty,” says 14-year-old Afsana from Government Middle School, Sonkh, Haryana.

“Children have a vision to become something in life, all thanks to the good school infrastructure. They say they are getting good opportunities and we want to make best use of that,” says Padma, a pleased mother of a student in High School, Chickatuppur, Chamrajnagar, Karnataka.