A school in Bihar’s Gaya district is making a positive change in society by imparting free education to children – by making them serve the cause of nature and cleanliness.
The Padmapani School in Sewa Bigha village provides free education to its students in return for the dry waste they bring. They have also been provided with a bag to collect the waste.
Students regularly bring throw the garbage brought from their homes and the roads in the dustbins kept near the school gate.
The plastic waste brought by the students of Padmapani School run by the Padmapani Educational and Social Foundation is collected and sent for recycling. The money collected by selling it is spent on children’s education, food, uniforms, and books.
Rakesh Ranjan, co-Founder of the institution, told IANS that the school was started in 2014, but this initiative has only been since 2018. The school is located in the Bodh Gaya area, where thousands of devotees from all over the country and abroad visit every day.
He added that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making efforts in making India look clean and beautiful, Bodh Gaya should also look clean and beautiful. Plastic is very harmful for the environment and causes climate change, he said.
When the children pick up garbage from roads, it creates awareness and a sense of realisation among the parents and the people around to not litter, which is why less waste is visible on the roads in these areas, Rakesh Ranjan said.
He also noted that the electrical appliances of the school also work on solar energy.
School Principal Meera Kumari said that the main purpose behind taking school fees in the form of garbage is to inculcate a sense of responsibility in the children, as they will be adults someday and are becoming aware of environmental hazards. One of our aims is to maintain cleanliness around the historical heritage, she added.
The students also plant saplings on the side of the roads in the village, and taking care of them is also their responsibility. Around 700 saplings planted by the students of the school have now grown into big trees, she added.
The school, recognised by the state government, provides education to students from classes 1 to 8. At present, about 250 students from poor families study there, said sources.
A sense of responsibility is seen in the children, since they have started participating in this endeavour, and they also seem happy about contributing to the community.