DIY handwash by Latehar schoolkids

Unique initiative hailed by Unicef

By SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA in Ranchi
  • Published 12.01.17
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Students wash their hands with the solution at a school in Latehar on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Ranchi, Jan. 11: Children studying at state-run schools in Tarwadih and Nawagarh panchayats of Latehar's Sadar block couldn't afford handwash that is sold in bottles in the market. But that didn't make them wash their hands of the hygienic practice.

Instead, they made their handwash with items of daily use like detergent powder, shampoo and water. The students not only use the solution to wash their hands before and after taking midday meal, but also supply it to nearby anganwadi centres, the DIY initiative in the rebel hotbed lapping up praise from various quarters.

There are 27 state-run primary schools and 16 anganwadi centres in the two panchayats. On an average, there are around 50 students in each of these schools, while every anganwadi centre has 35 to 40 children.

The idea of preparing a handwash solution took shape when an NGO, Vedic Society, which is working on cleanliness mission schemes in the area, observed that most of these children cleaned their hands with earth and sand.

This, in turn, motivated its project coordinator Sujit Kumar to help them prepare handwash on their own.

"They put a little amount of detergent powder and a few drops of shampoo in a bottle of water and cork them tight. A small hole is made on the cork to pour the liquid on hands. Preparing one litre of this handwash barely costs Rs 2 and lasts for 15-20 days. Their teachers take care of the expenses incurred," Kumar said.

He added that the Unicef appreciated the initiative and he was working on extending the project to other schools and anganwadi centres.

"We have also given training to anganwadi workers and midday meal cooks. Now, they too regularly wash their hands before handling food. Initially, we were taking care of the nominal expenses incurred on preparing the handwash. But, the teachers and anganwadi workers agreed to prepare it on their own," Kumar said.

Latehar district's social welfare officer Savita Topno promised necessary support to the novel experiment.