WASH United and Team Swachh Bharat organized the Swachh Haath Mela (Clean Hands Fair) in Delhi at the sprawling Bal Bhawan premises. The day-long ‘Mela’ which was saw 939 children drawn from ten schools and various remedial education centers for underprivileged children to participate, reinforcing the message of safe sanitation and hygiene practices among the children, teachers, volunteers and participants alike.
A new educational video on the importance of practicing ‘Hand washing ‘was also released to mark the occasion. The campaign was simultaneously launched on Team Swachh Bharat face book, twitter and instagram account.
One of the key objectives of the mela was to familiarize and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Team Swachh Vidyalaya Action Kit a ready-to-use low-cost toolkit that uses fun, interactive games and positive messaging to make children aware and learn critical WASH behaviors through a combination of team play, discussions and actions.
Learning through fun and games
The day long ‘Mela’ which began at nine am in the morning saw children arrive in batches from various schools and organizations and proceed to a specially designated area where they were introduced to three select games from the TSVAK tool kit. The selected games included (a) obstacle relay (b) musical toilet and (c) Hit the germ can. Once the processes were explained, the children played these games thoroughly enjoying them in the process.
After finishing the games, the children were ushered into an auditorium where a special Do It Yourself zone was created were they were introduced to the ‘Do It Yourself Hamara Action Kit’. Here, the children spent time creating and developing props / play materials required to play these games using paper / cardboard and other daily use materials. After completing this process, the children moved to the main auditorium where they were explained safe hygiene practices and the correct way of washing their hands with practical demonstrations and music. This was followed by imparting the Team Swachh Hand Washing Pledge to the children who promised to follow safe sanitation practices every day.
As a gesture of appreciation to participating schools, a memento which consisted of a mini autographed bat of Team Swachh ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar was presented to the teachers which was accepted by thunderous applause from the children. After completing this activity, the children were led to a specially created ‘Hand washing Zone ‘ where they washed their hands with soap and water in the prescribed manner before they were given food packets and refreshments.
To mark the culmination of the Swachh Haat Mela, the last batch of children from the participating schools were made to perform a unique choreographed dance based on the hand washing practice which the children performed on stage amidst much fun and fanfare marking a grand curtains down on this fantastic event.
A success story all the way
The Swachh Haath Mela was a huge success both in terms of participation as well as for its organizational acumen. The two partner organizations, Centre for Environment communications which coordinated school participation aspect and Child Survival which supported the event through volunteer participation also contributed to making the event a success.
Apart from this, the Swachh Haath Mela succeeded in getting the message of hand washing and safe sanitation across to the children in a very effective manner. The success of the Initiative could be gauged from the fact that the Bal Bhawan Management which is the venue for various child related programs was highly appreciative of the organized way in which the Swachh Haath Mela was held and commended Team Swachh for this stupendous and flawless effort.
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