In April 2019, under a CSR supported integrated village development project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation in district Nuh, Haryana, a major initiative was to improve the infrastructure of the government school in the village to create a dynamic learning environment for the students and motivate teachers and parents.
The lack of drinking water in the school premises was most precarious. As a result, many students were not regular in attending school; they would go home to drink water, and subsequently many of them would not return. To address this challenge, a project initiative was to establish a rainwater harvesting (RWH) system in this school, which was completed in October 2019. This action enthused the students, teachers, and the School Management Committee (SMC).
About one-and-a-half years after the construction of the RWH structure, some students playing in the campus broke the tap and pipeline of the RWH unit, which caused insufficient availability of safe drinking water in the school. This resulted in the students’ attendance to once again gradually decrease. Observing this situation, the now-empowered SMC members, some of whom are also part of the Village Leadership School group, took charge and called for an immediate meeting to discuss this issue. Earlier, the community was resigned about taking responsibility for their own development and just waited lethargically for the government to improve situations. But now some of the active members of the SMC, such as Adil and Faryaz, among others, discussed the issue with the teachers and decided to mobilize INR 1,000 from the SMC members for the purpose of repairing the tap and pipeline. Following this initiative, the broken parts of the RWH unit were repaired under the supervision of selected SMC members. The RWH system again became functional, and the students had adequate access to safe drinking water.
Earlier, 124 students were enrolled in the school with poor attendance, and now, due to the project’s interventions, 197 students are enrolled, with a considerable increase in their regularity. In addition to the RWH structure and drinking water station, a lively learning environment has been created in the school with refurbished classrooms, a kitchen shed, sanitation units, play and recreational zones, among others.
Assistant teacher Ahmed Ali says, “The school’s environment has become healthy and positive, which not only motivates us to teach well and regularly, but has also encouraged parents to enroll their children in this school.”
Authors: Debika Goswami and Shahina Khatun
(Debika is senior program lead, Local Participation and Sustainability and Shahina is project associate, Nuh)