Taking pride in personal hygiene
Story from Mugu under Education
Mahakali Higher Secondary School (MHSS) is situated in Gamgadhi, headquarters of Mugu District. Though it is a model school for other schools, the personal hygiene and sanitation of the MHSS students was very poor. The school ground was uneven and barren and the classrooms were dirty. There were no specific rules for the students as to their roles and responsibilities, and teachers and parents showed very little interest in improving the personal cleanliness of the students.
First UMN's cluster staff discussed this issue with the headmaster and the key teacher, and they responded positively. The school organised a meeting with all the teachers, School Management Committee (SMC) and the students. They made an action plan for the school. According to action plan, the students were to clean their classrooms every Friday, and UMN provided dustbins to help keep things tidy. To improve their personal hygiene and sanitation, UMN provided a sanitation set (mirror, nail cutters, combs, towel, bucket, and jug) which is kept at the school front gate. Now all the students going in and out of school look at their faces in the mirror, and if they find themselves dirty and untidy, they wash their faces with water and cut their nails. Even new-comers to the school look in the mirror to check to see that they are neat and tidy.
Similarly, when the school created a bed for flowering plants, UMN provided limestone for the borders. Now the teachers and students have jointly prepared a daily timetable for cleaning the school grounds and their class rooms. The timetable is written and placed on the school notice board. The kitchen garden in the adjoining deaf hostel is lush and green, with different kinds of vegetables grown there, and deaf students feel their hostel is their own home.
Students are taking the habits of maintaining personal hygiene - like taking a bath regularly, trimming their hair, cutting their nails, combing their hair, brushing their teeth etc - back home, so the school has become a model for personal hygiene in the district. Looking at such progress, the key teacher (Rup Bahadur Malla) says: ''It is a product of participatory planning and UMN's new and innovative ideas." SMC chairperson, Kebal Malla adds: "We never ever imagined that doing a kitchen garden was possible in our school. Now we also have flowers and sanitation activities. All the credit goes to UMN, and we will maintain this attractive environment."