The Telegraph
Thursday , September 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Deepika backs hygiene

- Archer to interact with schoolkids on Unicef drive

Golden girl Deepika Kumari will soon take a noble aim — teaching schoolchildren about good hygiene practices.

Unicef has decided to rope in the ace archer to speak about the importance of hygiene as part of an awareness drive targeting 60 lakh children in 40,000 state-run schools and another 23 lakh in 38,000 anganwadi kendras.

The campaign, which began on September 8, will conclude on November 15.

Unicef officials are planning to invite two more celebrities from the world of sports or arts to join the bandwagon.

State chief of Unicef Job Zachariah said, “We wish to invite celebrities to be a part of the two-and-a-half-month-long campaign which will span important dates like Gandhi Jayanti (October 1), Global Handwashing Day (October 15) and Children’s Day (November 14).”

The icons will speak during special functions that will be organised on these important dates in the state capital as well as in villages. Unicef has not finalised the date in which Deepika will be invited.

“As for now we have chosen Deepika Kumari, as she has won the hearts of the young generation with her success story. We are sure children will be elated when they interact with her. She will shed light on the benefits of hygiene, which is part of our daily lives,” Zachariah said.

He reasoned, “Celebrities act as catalysts in making any programme successful, as they remain embedded in the memory of people for years. Besides, nowadays youngsters religiously follow any advice by celebrities. So, we are hopeful that an young achiever like Deepika will be able to inspire hygiene practices among the children.”

Last year, a similar campaign was organised from October 15 till November 14.

Zachariah added: “This time, we look forward to make it more successful one with the convergence of the health, social welfare, HRD and drinking water and sanitation departments. We are positive that the various departments and celebrities will come together to make the campaign successful.”

After the campaign is over, Unicef will take feedback from school principals, who have been asked to write letters, and then identify areas that need to be closely monitored.

In villages, mukhiyas will also be a part of the drive during which soaps will be distributed to every school on a monthly basis. Besides, officials will speak on hygiene during the prabhat pheris or morning assembly at schools. Members of bal sansads or school cabinets will also be told to monitor whether their peers follow hygiene practices or not.

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