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A teacher’s vision helps make a village open defecation free

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Motivated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign, Kamla Sinha ignited the fire of change by encouraging people to give up open defecation and make their surroundings clean.

Kamla Sinha, a teacher at the Government Middle School in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh, can be best described as an inspiration and a visionary who has been able to stoke the fire of change and development not only in her school but also in the community.

With her strenuous efforts, she has been able make Mohbhatta village in the district, where she was earlier teaching, an open defecation free (ODF) village. It was recognized as ODF by state chief minister Raman Singh in Aug. 2016.

“It all started in 2014, when I heard Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech about Clean India and I kept pondering over as to how I can contribute in this mission as a teacher.,” Sinha said

Sinha, who has always been connected to the community, started spreading awareness about hygiene and sanitation through skits, plays and songs presented by students of her school.

The teacher conducted meetings with the village council head and the block level authorities and raised the concern after which people were given space on the government land to make toilets.

“Most of the people in the village hail from poor and backward communities and preferred to defecate in the open as they did not know the relevance of toilets or did not have adequate space to construct one for the family.,” Sinha said

Not only in the community, but Sinha’s dedication and commitment toward her teaching speak aloud. She introduced the mentor-disciple relationship among students, building a supportive and harmonious relationship among them.

In this innovation, Sinha segregates the weak students from the class and put them along with those who are good in studies. The bright ones are then given the responsibility to help others learn.

“This method has helped the weak students to come out of their shells and discuss their shortcomings with other students. Also, given the staff crunch in the government schools it is not possible to pay attention to each and every child. This technique helps fill that gap,” she added.

In Aug. 2017, Sinha got the chance to attend teacher orientation programme under Sri Aurobindo Society’s Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI).

“I shared my community participation and mentor-disciple idea with the ZIIEI trainers. It is very important that such kind of trainings are taken seriously at a time when the quality of education in government schools is deteriorating and teachers are not given their due respect,” she said.

“It would be my privilege if my ideas could be scaled up to other schools in the country through ZIIEI and contribute in the development of the schools as well as the society,” Sinha added.