A special march for a cause

NOBLE MISSION: The special students of Jeevika during their march to promote cleanliness at Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur on Friday. (Animesh Sengupta)

Jamshedpur: At a time when the city's civic bodies are busy investing Herculean efforts in the run-up to next month's Swachh Survekshan, a group of mentally challenged students took out a march to spread awareness about cleanliness at Jubilee Park, here, on Friday.

The 22-odd students of Sonari-based Jeevika, an NGO involved in the welfare of the mentally challenged, walked half-a-kilometre at the green lung, holding placards that read "change habits, not the environment", "clean India, green India" and "clean our surroundings."

The specials marched through picnic spots where families were enjoying their day and passed benches where people sat leisurely. The half-an-hour walk ended with lunch comprising puri, alu dum, sweets and salad.

N.Sai Krishna, a Jeevika student who claimed two golds in the Special Olympics National Roller Skating Championship in 2014, said: "Shahar ko saaf rakhna hum sabki jimmedaari hai. Yeh hamara ek chhota sa prayas tha (Keeping the city clean is everybody's responsibility. This was a small effort from our side."

The bespectacled Krishna, fondly called "manager" for his ability to grasp things quickly, guided students and also stopped traffic with a red flag when the specials were crossing the main road to reach the picnic area.

Other specials including Pankaj Kumar, Sunil Gope, Sangram Singh, Sushil Gope and Aakash Sharma also lent a hand in preventing students from going astray during the march.

The special students also played cricket and badminton under the supervision of Jeevika functionaries.

When this correspondent asked Pankaj Kumar about Swachh Survekshan, his innocent reply was, " Mujhe nahin pata. Humne to bas swachhta ke liya march nikala (I don't know. We just took out a march for cleanliness)," he added.

Jeevika founder Avtar Singh, a seven-time national champion in cycling, said the march was aimed at making people understand the importance of maintaining cleanliness. "It was a modest effort from our students," he added.

Jeevika secretary, Sukhdeep Kaur said, "We involved them in the march to spread an important message to the society . After all, it is responsibility of every citizen to understand the importance of cleanliness."

Satyendra Mishra, a former Tata Steel employee, said, he felt proud to watch the specials' march. "When they can understand the need for cleanliness why can't we?"he asked.


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