Canadian NRI Giandeep Kheparh has launched a new scheme called ‘Germs Di Bajao Band, Wash your Hands’ in 38 government schools in and around his native village Takarla, in Balachaur subdivision of Nawanshahr, Punjab. Importantly, these were the schools, where toilets do not even have soap s for the children.
Kheparh said they began with 3 schools and provided free soaps for a few months for use in toilets in the schools, and made Clubs there that ensured that every child using the toilet came out after washing their hands with soap. They also made the students and teachers realize that promoting hygiene in this way helped improve the attendance in schools and children got sick less often.
Kheparh who runs an NGO Khwahish Sewa Society (KHASS) said they have now finally started a self-funding scheme in the schools, and the club members collect Rs.2 per month from each child and Rs.10 per teacher and purchase soaps on their own.
They are also providing sanitary napkins in government rural schools in villages to create awareness among girl students in the schools about using these and hygiene. Five dispensers have been installed in five government senior secondary schools of Balachaur from where students can purchase a napkin for Rs 2.
The NGO now plans to extend the campaign in more schools for which Rs.30,000 has been set aside.
To encourage the practice of hygiene KHASS has established a rewards programme whereby the schools that have progressed will be awarded with a memento and free cleaning supplies.