“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
– Nelson Mandela
As very well said in the above quote, Education is something that can’t be ignored and should not be neglected at any cost. Education not only plays a vital role in providing knowledge, but, it helps a person to be able to introspect, differentiate between the rights and wrongs, understand life, having innumerable opportunities to grow, be a responsible citizen & contribute in the development of the society, community and hence the country. Being educated is the biggest asset for one.
But as we talk about the importance of education and being developed and global, we come across a cruel reality too that needs immediate attention. India is divided into Urban and Rural Sector. The education facilities in the urban schools are far more developed and at par with the international standards whereas, schools in the rural sector still crave to meet the basic requirements of proper buildings, sanitation, hygiene, safety, clean drinking water etc. Due to these conditions, lot of children in the rural sector are bound to drop off the idea of going to school, either by choice or persuasion of their families. This include huge numbers of girl child specifically, leaving their studies due to improper conditions. Rather than encouraging their girl child to continue education, the rural families prefer to either marry them off early or bound them to household work only. The boys drop out to support their families by earning at a very young age.
Educating a girl is to educate a family. Due to all these Unhappy situations, the enrollment and retention of children in schools in rural sector is a serious issue to be dealt with.
Moved by the unwelcoming situations being faced by the rural children, Coca-Cola India, UN-Habitat & NDTV along with NGO partners launched the Support My School (SMS) Campaign in January 2011, which is basically for spreading awareness on the Importance of Education.
It is also a WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) initiative that aims to improve the basic amenities in Government schools. The SMS campaign is now taking up Mission 1000 i.e. to revitalize 1000 neglected schools in the country that lack these basic facilities. Its core activities include:
* Provision of improved access to water.
* Appropriate and separate sanitation facilities for girls & boys.
* Improvement in the overall school infrastructure.
* Providing sports and Recreational facilities.
* Environmental Upkeep
Saurav Ganguly being the Brand Ambassador for this campaign, its impact is immensely applaudable. This mission being in line with the Swachch Bhaarat Vision, has revitalized 600 schools and benefited approximately 2,00,000 children. This has lead to an upward move in the enrollment figures and children’s attendance data.
IMPORTANCE OF SUCH MISSIONS!
When the Golden Triangle involving NGOs, Community Members and Private Sector join hands, it definitely can enhance and make a huge difference to our country’s development. With the provision of such basic and necessary amenities, the schools touched by the SMS campaign are now very much able to provide a cleaner, healthier, safer environment conducive to learning. This has really transformed the education scenario for the children who could only desire or dream of going to schools but were deprived due to improper conditions. Their entire future was being absolutely destroyed. The increase in the enrollment rate from 6.95% (2013 – 14) to 14.77% (2014 – 15) is itself an indicator of the importance of such programs for our country. This initiative by Coca-Cola India, UN – Habitat & NDTV has been successful in making a positive difference in the lives of the children by giving them a beautiful opportunity to get education as the gift for their life.