Saroj Lama and Anita Bista are 5th grade students at the Shree Pratibha Primary School in the Kavre region of Nepal. Plagued by high illiteracy rates, the Kavre region also suffers from a widespread lack of awareness regarding proper health and sanitation. The streets are often littered with trash, putting the community, and children in particular, at risk for injury or disease.
Anita and Saroj had never given much thought to the negative implications of their community’s sanitation issues until one day they came upon a book on the subject at their school’s Room to Read library. That day, the two students turned into budding community health activists.
Inspired by their new-found knowledge, Anita and Saroj started a grassroots program at their school to improve their community’s health and sanitation record. “We looked around our littered village and decided it was high time we did something to clean the mess up,” says Saroj, who immediately began rallying support from parents and teachers at his school.
Together he and Anita initiated a door-to-door awareness campaign that had them performing songs with their fellow students throughout the community about the importance of proper hygiene and waste disposal practices.
“The books about the environment helped us visualize what we wanted to achieve,” echoes Anita. “With our vision clear, it was easy to share it and to convince the community to help us conserve our shared environment.”
Thanks to Anita and Saroj, the streets of their small community in the Kavre region are cleaner than ever, and perhaps more importantly, they have witnessed first-hand the power a few dedicated individuals have to create positive change in their community.
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