On the 26th of March, Tuesday, Vikhe Patil Memorial School received State award from Centre for Environment Education and Pune Municipal Corporation during Swachhagraha Felicitation Ceremony. Our school along with 284 schools from in and around Pune was part of the ‘Swachhagraha’ Programme running across India in 17 different states. Students of Vikhe Patil Memorial School raised the issue of spitting. The activities conducted by dal included– film screening, competitions and debates, cycle rallies, street plays, paper bag selling, cleanliness drives, collection drives for recyclables.

The ceremony was held in the Pune Municipal Corporation building, in the Corporation Hall. Before all the officials arrived, students of various schools stood near the Mahatma Phule statue, where they were asked a number of questions about the various activities and programs they conducted and what they learnt from each one of them. Students also talked about what steps they personally took to ensure cleanliness in the city, like interacting with the safai karamcharis and asking them about the hardships they face daily. 

This program enabled the students to change their perspectives on how they as individuals could do their bit to keep the city clean and sanitary. The answers of the students indicated the vast amount of knowledge they had gained, as well as the determination they had in them. The encouragement from the masses inspired them to work harder to achieve their goal – anti spitting. Spitting is one of the major reasons of unsanitary conditions all over the country, and each Swachhagrahi aimed to prevent people from spitting on the roads. 

Our school took a lot of initiatives to spread the awareness of the dangers of an unclean environment, which was rightfully recognised by CEE as well as the PMC Health Department. 3 students – Riddhima Pande, Mishka Maheshwari and Asavari Deshmukh – won prizes for their essays on environmental sensitization, and for their selfies with the safai karamcharis nearby. VPMS was also one of the lucky school to win a State Award in this wonderful programme. 

State Award

This day was also quite special, since children below the age of 18 were seated in the Mukhya Sabha for the very first time in the history of the PMC. The students, as well as the teachers, considered themselves privileged to be the ones seated there. The ceremony ended with two PMC officials giving a speech to congratulate everyone present there. They appreciated our efforts immensely, and said it was people like us who could carry the message of cleanliness forward. It struck a chord in everyone present there, who were now even more driven to promote cleanliness in public places. 

The day was very enjoyable for everyone, and we returned back to school with huge smiles on our faces, proud of the work we did in order to do our small part for the sanitation of the city. We definitely learnt a lot from the PMC officials, which we will cherish in our hearts for a lifetime.