Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cleaning it up!

 Once a village of the Ghale kings in Nepal, Ghale Gaun is as clean as the pristine mountains one can see from the village.

Foreigners and Nepalis alike who visit this place fall in love with it and the locals have a big role to play when it comes to its cleanliness. Students of Ghale Uttar Girls Elementary School also play an active role in keeping the village clean and dirt free.

In school, cleaning is part of the routine of the students. The teachers and students decide the place together and then the cleaning begins on the decided place every Friday.

Principal of Ghale Uttar Girls Elementary School, Yamuna Ghale, has always been interested in social work and wants her students to learn it too. “We want our students to learn the practical way of life and not just what is served in the books,” she says, adding, “We are all very happy with this. This has also helped improve relationship between friends and they are more helpful now.” According to her, the students are very happy with the work they are involved in.

Children in Ghale Gaun cleaning the common field area in the village. The campaign initially launched by Ghale Uttar Girls Elementary School is also being replicated by other schools nearby.  

The village was not as clean as it is now. Lil Bahadur Ghale remembers the old days and says, “Our village was pretty grimy before. The spot where the view point is now above the hills was used by the villagers in the past as the place to defecate.”

People, back in the days, believed that one should not defecate or urinate in and near the house and hence, never built any toilets in the property. But things have changed now and so has the mentality. All the households have clean toilets now and the children are coming together to clean the place. The villagers are very happy with the outcome, especially when they see the children taking an active role in keeping the place clean.

There are around 125 houses in Ghale Gaun and the route has been constructed with stone slabs all the way. There is also a common field where the villagers and students get together and it’s up to the children and their teachers to clean the route and the field. “I love it when everybody is cleaning the place together,” said Pavitra Ghale, a grade give student, adding, “This is our place and we must keep it clean.”

Famous for its sceneries, the people and its culture, Ghale Gaun is an attraction to a lot of tourists and according to Pavitra, they must keep it clean for the guests who come from faraway places to enjoy the mountains. “We do our best when we’re working and if its’ a difficult job, we have our teachers to help us in each and every step of the way,” shares she. The Mothers Group (Ama Samuha), who took up the responsibility of keeping the place clean initially, is also very proud of the children.

The only spot in Nepal where Gurung culture and heritage is very prominent, Ghale Gaun is an attraction to a lot of foreigners and locals alike. “I think the young ones are doing very good and we are ready to join them to make sure that our village is clean,” puts Dirga Gurung, a local of the village. According to him, the job the Mothers Group and the students are doing are worth applauding and that together, they can do even better.

The campaign initially launched by Ghale Uttar Girls Elementary School is also being replicated by other schools nearby. Shobha Adhikari, teacher at Uttar Girls Higher Secondary School, informed that even students in higher grades will be involved in the cleaning campaigns soon. “Our school is also encouraging the students to do some social work. I think this will teach the students a lot about keeping the place, where you live, clean,” she shares.

A campaign started by the children of the village can easily be replicated in many places in Nepal. A grade five student, Bista believes so too. “We are small but we believe that we’ve done something big. If we do it together, the work is very easy,” she said. 

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