By Gurinder Gulati
VALSAD, Gujarat, India, 25 November 2009 – To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC), an ‘Exhibition on Wheels’ was inaugurated by the Dr Jaipal Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of Water and Sanitation Management Organisation (WASMO).
The bus mounted exhibition has been specially designed to educate school children and the community at large on the importance of water conservation and safe drinking water. The exhibition developed in partnership with Nehru Science Centre, UNICEF and WASMO also aims to inform the children and community about various aspects of environmental and household sanitation and the personal hygiene practices.
The 'Exhibition on Wheels' will travel to schools in rural areas and reach out to thousands of children in more than 18,000 villages of the state.
The mobile exhibition is also equipped with a testing lab and children were seen demonstrating to the audiences the ways to test the water quality and to purify the contaminated water using chlorine tablets.
“Today, I have learnt the importance of conserving water and that we must practice safe hygiene behaviour to enjoy good health,” said Milan, a 14-year old student, after taking a tour of the mobile exhibition in Ambethi Ashram Shala, a residential school in Valsad district.
“Safe water is critical to stay healthy. The exhibition has helped me in acquiring knowledge about water testing, filtration techniques and chlorination”, said Meeraben, one of the students visiting the exhibition.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO, WASMO, Dr Jaipal Singh, remarked that the exhibition is an effort towards making children aware about preserving the environment and water.
The Member of the Legislative Assembly from Valsad, Jeetu Bhai Choudhary, said “Because of sudden deficient rainfall, we are experiencing drinking water scarcity which has made us realise the value of water. Awareness among children about water conservation will definitely give us a sense of security”.
On the occasion of 20th Anniversary of the CRC, Vasudhara Dairy, a partner of UNICEF in Valsad district organised a convention of the children’s networks established by them.
Approximately 500 children from 100 schools participated in the convention. These children are engaged in creating awareness among their peers in the school and village about child rights and also take up their issues with the local leaders.
Children took to centre stage and conducted the programme themselves. It was an opportunity for them to share their experiences about the work being done by them to promote rights of children in their villages. They children sang songs and also enacted street plays focused on child rights reminded the audiences about the four basic rights enshrined in the CRC and the society’s responsibility in fulfilling them.
Expressing her views on the importance of education, a girl student from Pardi School, Swatiben said “Education for all children, particularly girls, is very important. Only when we are educated, we can grow to our full potential.”
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Vasudhara Dairy, Mr. Mogabhai, said “Children are our assets and the future of our nation. If we want our nation to grow, we need to nurture them with care and ensure that they develop to their full potential.