Water, sanitation and hygiene – the basic amenities are necessary to produce a healthy school environment. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has emphasised on the availability of these necessities with national campaigns like Swachh Bharat: Swachh Vidyalaya, ‘Clean India: Clean Schools’. The campaign document even provides design guidelines for building hygienic cooking sheds, toilets and emphasises on the availability of clean, drinkable water.
However, while these practices are documented, in reality, there yet remains lack of provision of these amenities and lack of a monitoring body keeps these issues from being readily addressed. While there may be a gap in administrative monitoring, community monitoring has proven its effectiveness.
A year ago, Sujeeta Tudu, Video Volunteer correspondent found out that the primary school in the remote village of Lakhandih, Jharkhand had no basic amenities. The mid-day meals were cooked without a kitchen, students didn’t have clean, hygienic water and they were forced to relieve themselves in the fields.
Appalled by the state of affairs of the school, Sujeeta made a video report on the issue. She took the video to the School Management Committee to the district headquarter Seraikela Kharsawan.
A remote village in Jharkhand, Lakhandih’s problems were too small for administrators but Sujeeta persisted. She organised community screenings among the students’ parents, repeatedly lodge complaints and used the power of community journalism for bringing about change.
A year after the struggle, there was finally light at the end of the tunnel. The SMC approved the construction of a cooking shed and renovating of the toilets. The school also has been provided clean drinking water.
On behalf of Video Volunteers, Sujeeta would like to thank all the viewers and the district’s Block Education Officer Valmiki Prasad for helping to bring a solution to this issue.
While this school has gotten access to sanitation and clean, drinking water, there are many more schools nestled in cities, towns and villages that continue to be devoid of these basic amenities. In 2015, the NDA government had claimed to have built 4,17,796 separate toilets for both sexes, across all government schools of India. However, community reports like these and various reputed sources reveal a different picture.
This video was made by Sujeeta Tudu, a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent.
Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges.See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.