Creating future ready young entrepreneurs
What school children can do to promote safe sanitation, can become an inspiration to the rest of society. A great example is that of the Government-aided NJA High School located in the Bose Nagar village of Chiralamandal. Partnership with ITC Sunehra Kal for safe sanitation Before the project started, this school used to have a very poor WASH infrastructure. ITC Sunehra Kal decided to support this school under its community development programme to tackle this sanitation challenge, amongst other by providing the school with separate toilet and urinal blocks for boys and girls. However, due to a lack of sufficient funds maintenance became a big challenge. Setting up a Child Cabinet at NJA Highschool FINISH Society took up the Sustainable School WASH project in October 2018 and started working on the betterment of the WASH infrastructure of the schools. The society formed a child cabinet to teach, encourage and monitor fellow students to promote and implement the WASH programme at school. The Child Cabinet of NJA School consists of total 12 members, all between the age of 13 and 15 years, of which 4 boys and 8 girls. The cabinet has a Prime Minister, 3 Sports and Cultural Ministers, 3 Health Ministers, 3 Education & Environment Ministers and 3 Food Ministers. The Health Ministry is responsible for WASH activities of the school. Their roles and responsibilities include monitoring personal hygiene, hand washing using soap at critical times every day and creating awareness in the school and community on communicable diseases, including mode of transmission, prevention and treatment. The Health Ministry is also responsible for monitoring proper storage and safe handling of water. Awareness & training After the formation of Child Cabinet, FINISH Society conducted several meetings with child cabinet members along with head master to make them understand the WASH programme and its importance. FINISH Society trained child cabinet members such that they are able to make fellow students understand the concepts of personal hygiene, hand wash, toilet usage and cleanliness. In the meantime, they were given awareness sessions on the importance of Operations & Maintenance of the WASH infrastructure. Increased funds for Operations & Maintenance Following the continuous training and awareness campaigns conducted by the FINISH Society Team, the child cabinet got motivated and understood the importance of having Operations & Maintenance funds for the school. They decided to contribute their part for mobilizing regular Operations & Maintenance funds for the school without depending on anyone else. To raise even more funds for operations & maintenance of the toilets and urinals, the Child Cabinet requested the Head Master of the school, Mr. R V Raman, to allow them to run a canteen/snacks shop at the school. The Head master happily accepted their offer and even helped them financially by lending Rs.12000/- as initial investment to start the shop at their school premises. From that moment, during break time, child cabinet members would sell candies, chocolates, chips, biscuits, other eatables and stationery to fellow students. In addition to generating profits for operations & maintenance, it also built leadership and entrepreneurship qualities among child cabinet members. Meeting monthly expenses The child cabinet canteen became a big success immediately. And with their profits, they were able to return the initial investments with in a short span of 3 months. Despite the success, its profits alone were not sufficient to meet the monthly Operations & Maintenance expenses of the whole school. However they didn’t give up on the initiative, and with great resolve they continuously contributed to the Operations & Maintenance needs of the school every month. With this act of the students, teachers got inspired and also started contributing to Operations & Maintenance expenses. With the help of teachers and child cabinet members, NJA High School is now able to meet its monthly Operations & Maintenance expenses for the WASH infrastructure.