New Delhi: From cleaning water bodies to raising the level of sanitation in their surroundings, from highlighting food wastage as an area of concern to working towards spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene, young women in India are doing their bit to fulfill the dream of a Swachh Bharat. These young girls are not only challenging the societal norms by busting myths and taking on taboos, but are also undertaking cleanup drives and make a difference. This Women’s day let’s recognise these 5 of these agents of change and appreciate the work done by them.
1. Mission Dal Lake: How A Little Girl Started A Cleanup Drive To Save Srinagar’s Jewel
Call it Srinagar’s jewel or jewel in the crown of Kashmir, the fact is Dal Lake is losing its essence and beauty. From indiscriminate sewage disposal to encroachments to undesirable spread of weeds, numerous factors are responsible for the pitiable situation of Dal Lake. But 5-year-old Jannat along with her father is on a mission to restore the glory of Dal Lake.
In the last week of January, a video of Jannat urging people to use dustbins and participate in the cleanliness drive went viral on social media. In the video message, little Jannat said, “Today, I and my father did a little bit of cleaning of the lake. We found a lot of garbage, but just me doing the cleaning of Dal Lake will not be enough. Dal Lake is one of the best things we have, we all should come forward and do our best to preserve its beauty.”
Impressed by the little girl’s message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared her video on social media and added, “Hearing this little girl will make your morning even better! Great passion towards Swachhata.”
2. Meet The 13-Year-Old Swachh Crusader Who Is Fighting Against Open Defecation In Jharkhand
At the age of 11 when kids spend their pocket money on candies, chocolates and junk food, Monidrita Chatterjee saved every penny to provide toilets to other girls. Back in 2014, when she was listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, she realised that girls of her age drop out of schools because there are no toilets in schools. It is then that she decided to help them. In little over a year, she managed to save Rs. 24,000 and built two toilets in Kendradhi village. Monidrita didn’t stop there. Later, she decided to build toilets by recycling waste products like plastic bottles and fly ash. Today, the swachh crusader along with the help of her parents has built more than six toilets in different parts of Jamshedpur and her plan is to make her state free from the practice of open defecation.
In addition to this, every week, the little girl visits villagers to raise awareness about hygiene and sanitation. Impressed by the efforts of Monidrita, the state government felicitated her efforts and she was awarded ‘Sanitation Champion’ certificate in 2016.
3. Meet The Pad Sisters From Jaipur Who Are On A Mission To Provide Sanitary Napkins To Underprivileged Girls
Inspired by the reel and real life PadMan, 16-year-old Poorvi Mittal and 14-year-old Suhani Mittal with help from their mother initiated a PadBank in Jaipur city, which provides sanitary napkins to less fortunate girls, on January 10. In rural areas, girls often end up missing their school while they are menstruating, reason being, dependency on unhygienic alternatives like old cotton, cloth. In order to change this, Mittal sisters act as a bridge, they collect sanitary pads from women who can afford it and distribute it among less fortunate girls, every month for free. During the first collection that happened in the last week of January, around 150 people came forward to contribute and the team managed to accumulate around 2500 pads.
Apart from this, the little warriors, also take awareness sessions in bastis, and schools.
4. To End Food Wastage, 18-Year-Old Dikshita Khullar Builds Magic Fridge That Can Keep Perishables Fresh For Seven Days
Around 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted even before it reaches our plate. Why? Because farmers and vendors do not have proper storage facilities. Concerned about the humungous amount of food wasted in India, class 12 student, Dikshita Khullar, designed a cost effective fridge that doesn’t need electricity to run on. Taking lessons from her science class, Dikshita developed a fridge using bricks, sand, jute bags and bamboos. The prototype of magic fridge can hold up to six crates or 120kg of vegetables and is capable of keeping them fresh for seven days.
5. No Toilet, No Home: Girls In Andhra Pradesh Refused To Come Home From Hostel On Makar Sankranti
Practising the lessons learned in school that asked students not to defecate in open, around 100 girls from the Kasturba Gandhi School sent a letter to their parents stating that they won’t come to home for Makar Sankranti because there is no toilet at home. In the letter, they further urged their parents to take help from the government and construct an individual toilet before the festivities. Makar Sankranti is an important festival for the people of Andhra Pradesh and it is crucial for all family members to gather together and celebrate the auspicious festival. The idea behind this campaign is to educate the parents through their children and end the age old practice of open defecation.