THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is back to square one, like the start of a new academic year. With the notebooks and other school supplies washed away by the cataclysmic floods, countless students have to start from the scratch. The schools are set to reopen in one week’s time. With the shops and every other outlet being washed away, school students are at a loss on how to tide over this academic year.
The ‘1 Book 1 Pencil’ campaign attempts to address just that. “Everything has been washed away. What will they take to the classes when the schools reopen. Even the shops are gone, so they wouldn’t be able to buy the school supplies,” says Prakash P Gopinath, managing trustee of the city-based cycling club Indus Cycling Embassy.
The campaign started by the club attempts to source school supplies which will then be distributed to students attached to schools in the flood-affected area.
The focus is presently on the students of classes 10, 11 and 12. “They are the ones who have to face public exams and hence our primary focus is on them. We are currently identifying the schools that were severely hit by the floods,” says Prakash.
It all started when a dearth of notebooks was seen at the collection centres in the city. “When we started collecting relief materials, we never came across any notebooks. At that time, our priority might have been different but this is highly significant and needs to be addressed,” he adds. And that was how the campaign started in mid-August.
The members of the Green Army in the city schools spread the word about collecting notebooks. “Each student was asked to donate one notebook and one pencil. The response was immense,” he adds. The students from schools such as NSS HSS, Palkulangara, Trinity College of Engineering, and an IAS academy in Pattom, among others, joined in the efforts to raise schools supplies. Soon the campaign caught on and school supplies worth more than Rs 40,000 could be sourced. “Many of our friends have helped by pitching in with monetary help. But we only take school supplies from the public,” says Prakash.
School kits are being readied at the office of the cycling club in Vazhuthacaud. Replete with notebooks, instrument box, pencil, pen, a sketch pen set and all other study materials, the school kits will be ferried to the students once they return home.