NCC cadets lead an awareness rally on handwashing
Purulia, West Bengal, 15 October, 2008: On 15 October, 2008 the first-ever Global Handwashing Day, Basanti Mudi, Bipasa Mahato and Anupama Pati along with fellow cadets of Mahatma Gandhi College at Lalpur marched the roads of Chakalta village, carrying banners, canvassing on microphones and distributing leaflets describing the benefits of handwashing. More than 2000 National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets of five colleges and 14 schools celebrated Global Handwashing Day with rallies and demonstrations of the five steps of handwashing in Raghunathpur, Jhalda and Balarampur blocks of Purulia.
'People defecate in the open and improper handwashing makes them prone to diseases'. Well-dressed cadets wearing their red pompom caps, demonstrated how thoroughly rubbing the whole surface of hands, fingers joints and the nail corners with soap is necessary to remove germs after defecation and before eating or cooking.
"People here use loose earth to clean their hands after toilet. With the soil becoming increasingly polluted, the practice poses a health hazard," says Basanti, at the end of helping a village housewife to wash her hands with soap, following five easy steps.
The villagers are reluctant to use soap as they believe water is enough to clean their hands. Anupama tells an old man, "Water removes visible dirt from the palms but it cannot remove germs which cause diarrhoea. Soap breaks the dirt and removes germs while rubbing with froth."
NCC cadets distribute pamphlets in Purulia
CC, a tri-service organization comprising Army, Navy and Air Force, grooms students to be patriotic and disciplined citizens of India. The hygiene campaign is part of special partnership between UNICEF office for West Bengal and NCC in Purulia in engaging young people for bringing in positive change for children of the district."The cadets are being asked to promote handwashing primarily with school children, who in turn will go home and teach their parents" says NCC Officer of 51 Bengal Battalion, Colonel Abu Sufian. Watching his cadets teach the steps of handwashing to students of Katin Para Madrassa in a dirty locality in the narrow lanes of Purulia town. “Cadets will also visit the hotels, roadside dhabas and restaurants to show them the steps of handwashing and inform them of the benefits,” he adds.
Joining the NCC does not only mean regular parades and rigorous training to the youth of Purulia district in West Bengal. They are involved in raising concerns about cleanliness and hygiene in the community too. With sanitary latrines in only 10 percent homes in the remote, hilly district of Purulia, use of toilets is very low. Mudi, Mahato and Pati regularly visit village homes and encourage people, particularly women, to opt for sanitary latrines.
NCC, a tri-service organization comprising Army, Navy and Air Force, grooms students to be patriotic and disciplined citizens of India. The hygiene campaign is part of special partnership between UNICEF office for West Bengal and NCC in Purulia in engaging young people for bringing in positive change for children of the district.
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