BENGALURU: In an effort to make every neighbourhood cleaner, Janaagraha’s website, www.ichangemycity.com has created a section called ‘IChangeMyStreet.’ The campaign will run in 220 schools and neighbourhoods of Bengaluru and bring together students, parents, teachers, communities, MLAs, councillors and civic officials.
“IChangeMyCity is a platform that Janaagraha created for people to report civic issues in their area. The initiative will take that further and ask schools to clean up their neighbourhoods, and at the same time educate people about the need for active citizenship,” says Sylvia Veeraraghavan, co-ordinator, Janaagraha.
The campaign will see students taking to the streets to see what changes they can bring to their own surroundings. “They could paint a wall, pick up garbage, warn parking violators, instal a bench and more,” says Sylvia. When children encounter bigger problems that need to be tackled, they take pictures and post them on the IChangeMyCity website, so that officials in the BBMP, BDA, and BWSSB can take care of them quickly.
The 220 schools involved in the campaign include both government and private. Many schools have worked with Janaagraha previously and have given a positive feedback for their previous campaigns.
Says Mary T L, principal, Shantiniketan High School, “On September 12, Janaagraha organised a clean-up campaign around our school in Viveknagar. Thirty to forty per cent of our students participated along with Janaagraha members. The kids cleaned up all the streets around the school and even went up to a few households to educate them about waste management and other similar issues.”
Shantiniketan High Schools are located between the residential and business hubs of Viveknagar and Neelasandra.
According to Mary, people in the neighbourhood lacked civic sense and were irresponsible when it came to garbage disposal and hygiene.
Hence, when students entered their schools in the morning, they were greeted with a strong stench. “The clean-up campaign has changed the attitude of people in the area a little bit. The garbage issue is manageable now,” she says.
“These campaigns definitely help children become better citizens of the future. They go back home and spread the message, and the entire household can benefit from what the students learn at these campaigns,” says Azeem Unnira, assistant-teacher, Bright High School, Neelasandra. The school already has parents calling in to check if they can participate in the upcoming cleaning campaign.
On November 7, students will be provided with cleaning kits that comprise of masks, gloves and other necessary items before they start the drive. They will also be given refreshments once the campaign is done. “We are targeting students of class 8 and upwards, as this is the time they really start growing into the adults they want to be. These campaigns wake you up and show you what it takes to be true, active citizens and help them become a part of positive change,” says Sylvia.
The I Change My Street Campaign goes live on Friday, November 7 at a school near you (To know more, log onto www.ichangemycity.com/ichangemystreet). Time: 9 am onwards