Santosh volunteered in Koudi last year on an ICS livelihoods programme, working to improve farming in the community. By building a number of new poly tunnels, Santosh and his team boosted the growth of tomatoes and other vegetables which supported the community to grow their livelihoods.
Whilst volunteering in Koudi, Santosh identified that there was an issue of litter in the community. So as his Action at Home project after the completion of his ICS placement, Santosh decided to return to Koudi and harness the potential of children in the community to tackle the problem of litter.
Santosh said: “I realised that engaging with younger children in the village early is key. To avoid a lack of environmental awareness and responsibility among future generations, I thought that growing an informal club with the children could help change that.”
Santosh set up Koudi Kids Club for children to come together and do social activities for the community. Through crowdfunding, Santosh raised enough funds to purchase materials such as masks and gloves for kids club activities, enabling him to launch Koudi Kids Club and encourage the children to become litter-picking ambassadors. Through their action, they have made Koudi one of the cleanest communities in the area.
“There’s 16 children in the community who are part of Koudi Kids Club. The children in the kid’s club help keep the community clean. The kids get up at 6.30am and segregate into four teams. They then go about the community cleaning up. My team of ICS volunteers previously dug a pit outside the community, so the kids put the trash that they collect into this pit. Anything which can be recycled, like bottles, gets collected and sold. People in the community come to buy the bottles for 1 rupee each – it’s not much but so many get collected that this creates a small earning for the children.”
The children regularly sweep the pathway around Koudi and maintain a clean environment for the community. On top of proactively cleaning the community, the kid’s club decided that bins should be installed around the village to inspire further environmentalism among the community. Using funds raised through crowdfunding, Santhos and the kids club placed 11 bins around the village which is helping to keep the community litter-free.
“The children are most understanding about the importance of cleanliness. Before you used to see lots of garbage on the street. But now the children pick litter every day, sweep twice a week and take garbage to garbage pit once a week. When people from other communities visit this community, the first thing they see now is cleanliness. Everyone is very happy that they are able to have one of the cleanest communities around here.”
Santosh said: “The best thing about Koudi kids club is one word – sustainability. People in the community ask me if the children will continue to do this after I have gone. But I have been away from the community days at a time, and it’s clear that they have continued to clean the community.”
Through the kids club, Santosh has encouraged the young generation in Koudi to become environmental champions who are inspiring positive change. With every bottle and packet collected, and with every person who’s impassioned to keep a clean environment, Santosh and the kids club are making a positive impact for everyone in Koudi.
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