Dedicates clean toilets and sanitation facilities in 50 schools in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in line with Government of India’s Swacch Bharat Mission
Chennai, June 29, 2016: Aircel, one of India’s leading telecom operators, in continuation of its support towards Government of India’s –Swachh Bharat Mission, announced the launch of its ‘Swacch Vidyalaya Program’ in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Under the program, the company in association with NGOs has dedicated clean toilets and sanitation facilities in 50 schools in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Aircel will continue and contribute towards investing in areas like advocacy and education of healthy sanitation practices in schools in different parts of the country. Out of the 50 schools, 33 are in Chennai, 7 in Coimbatore and 10 in Puducherry.
Speaking about the initiative, Brinda Malhotra, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Aircel, said “The dire problem of poor sanitation and hygiene requires a holistic and sustained effort to begin improving the health scenario in the country. We are in complete support of the Government’s vision of Clean India. We will place special emphasis on the behavioural change aspect of sanitation and hygiene by working to institutionalize healthy practices in India. The health outcomes of the inculcation of such an important practice are far-reaching. Being involved in giving the youth of the country a better quality of life with more opportunities is in line with our philosophy and vision.”
The programme is especially designed to address key aspects such as construction of toilet blocks with equipment; advocacy and education to bring about behavioural change around sanitation and hygiene like promoting regular hand wash practice among children, parents and nearby communities; and maintenance and upkeep of the toilet blocks in schools.
Though the world has made great leaps in approaching the United Nation’s sustainable development goals set for sanitation and hygiene, India still lags behind on many indicators. The state of sanitation and hygiene in schools is especially troubling. Only close to one in ten schools have soap/detergent available for hand washing. According to ‘District Information System for Education (DISE) report of 2013, nearly 1.9 Lakh schools don’t have girl’s toilets or the toilets are always ‘out of order’. That’s seventeen percent of schools. 1.7 lakh schools lack toilets for boys as well. In rural areas the problem is even worse with an ASER survey in 2013 finding that out of 14,000 rural schools surveyed 47% did not have toilets that were functional.
The key to the success of the ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan’, or, ‘Clean India Mission’, initiated by the Government of India, lies in teaching sanitation and hygiene skills to the young who will then take these practices to their communities. The practices will also then be perpetuated over time, creating better health outcomes for the nation in the future.