CHENNAI: Aircel on Wednesday launched its ‘Swachh Vidyalaya Programme’ under the Swachh Bharat Mission at the Government Model Higher Secondary School, Saidapet. Work on the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ project began last year in partnership with Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Rotary Club (RC). As a part of the initiative, toilets have been built in 50 government schools in Chennai, Puducherry and Coimbatore. “
We took this up keeping in mind the poor maintenance of toilets at government schools, which resulted in high drop- out rates — especially among girls,” said Brinda Malhotra, of Aircel, adding that an emphasis will be on behavioural changes through sanitation and hygiene.
“For a year, the project will aim to contribute towards advocacy, and volunteers of CAF and RC will visit these schools every week, educating children about hygiene and sanitation,” she said. When asked on what basis schools were selected, she said that her team visited over 200 government schools and came up with a list of 50, which needed immediate action. She added that a few schools did not even have pipes, and borewells had to be dug before toilets were constructed. Maintenance, including provision of soap and sanitary napkins, is also being taken up in these schools. These toilet blocks will be monitored and assessed through a monthly assessment report.