Drop out rates in rural education has been a large cause for worry for the government. Children are the future of the nation and their education is the foundation of nation’s future.
Several studies indicated that a large number of schools in rural and semi-urban areas lacked basic amenities like toilets, access to clean drinking water, sanitation facilities and basic infrastructure. This leads to high rates of absenteeism which ultimately leads to high student drop-outs. A girl child is affected the most due to these infrastructural issues. Adolescent Girls are forced to stay at home because there are no separate toilets for girls in rural schools.
India’s 11th Five Year Plan (2007 – 2012) commission set the target of reducing school drop out of elementary school to 20% from 52.2%. It failed.
This is when Coca-Cola India in partnership with NDTV, CAF and UN-Habitat launched ‘Support My School Campaign’ to work on revitalisation of government schools in 2011. Together they revitalized more than 600 schools and impacted over 2,00,000 students in both rural and semi urban areas.
Once again on 29 November 2015, NDTV, Coca-Cola and UN-Habitat took the lead with brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly to support the 6 hour telethon – Support My School with a larger mission. This time to revitalise 1000 schools in India, across 23 states and touching 300,000 students.
Support My School abbreviated as SMS, is a WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiative that aims to improve basic amenities in government schools like separate toilets for boys and girls and access to water.
SMS went live across all channels on the NDTV network appealing for donations to support the Mission 1000 conceptualised as a fundraising telethon.
The 6 hour telethon saw famous celebrities like Vikram Chanda, Venkatesh Kini, Sourav Ganguly, Ranveer Singh, Sonali Bendre and Rajkumar Hirani taking the stage to raise funds for the campaign. Walking the talk, Sonali Bendre adopted a school by donating Rs 5,00,000 to the campaign.
Joining in the discussion on the importance of education, Sonali Bendre said “What do I bring to the table as a parent? I want to teach my child to be a compassionate human being who can give back to the society. This goes beyond schools and textbooks. It all starts at home.”
To support the revitalisation of neglected schools across the nation TV actor, anchor and dancer Hussain Kuwajerwala took the audience by storm with his energetic dance performances.
“For me it’s a big deal to be invited to co-anchor the Support My School campaign,” said Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh who also performed alongside Hussain Kuwajerawala to support the mission.
Sourav Ganguly hosted Dada’s Pathshala where he played cricket with children and gave them batting advice. Apart from this, the event showcased stories on how it has transformed the education standard of students, especially girls.
This unique SMS initiative adds to the ongoing efforts of the government with its ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ to achieve Clean India by Oct 2, 2019.
You too can pledge your support to the Mission 1000 – Support My School Campaign and help India shine.