By Vikas Verma
MEDAK, Andhra Pradesh, 26 October, 2009 – Child Reporters spearheaded this year’s Handwashing Day celebrations in 622 villages in Medak district in Andhra Pradesh.
The child reporters kicked off the celebrations a week before the global Handwashing day by plastering the village walls with special wall newspapers to drive home the need and benefits of hand washing.
The child reporters, headed by the Head Mistress of the ZIla Parishad High School, Madhavi Latha, rallied around their village on October 15 and spoke to villagers about the benefits of handwashing.
The rally passed through the narrow lanes of the village and ended at the central square where they joined a gathering of students and community members that had already assembled.
The local leader or Sarpanch, Mr Saya Goud and Mr. Bala Chary, Project Coordinator of BCC Cell, Medak, delivered special messages to the villagers on the importance of handwashing with the soap.
Though many community members expressed their inability to purchase soap for their children, the child reporters were able to get parents cooperation after they convinced them of the importance of hand washing with soap and its health benefits.
The students later collected money on their own to purchase one hundred soaps for hand washing before eating their lunch in the school.
The Child Reporters Programme being implemented in Medak is aimed to include children in the development process and bring about awareness around social issues within their own communities. The Child Reporters document their observations and demands on hand written wall news papers in their own village.
Five students have been taken from each village in the age group of 12-14 years old and oriented on the Convention of Rights of Children (CRC) articles and their rights under the CRC. Today about 5000 child reporters are active in all 46 blocks of the district.