Education in rural India suffers from several issues where lack of sanitation is a key reason for absenteeism and dropouts amongst students. This is especially noted in young girls who are forced to quit as they enter adolescence due to a lack of clean and functional toilets.
The third season of the Support My School campaign has been recently launched. It is an effort to support the Central Government's "Swacch Bharat, Swacch Vidyalaya" initiative, an effort that started in 2009.
The season 3 aims to scale up the efforts and touch 1,000 schools and 3,60,000 students in next two years. The program is organised by Coca-Cola India, NDTV and UN-Habitat's multi-partner program for Happy, Healthy and Active schools.
The launch took place at a newly revitalized Sonkh Government Middle School, Nuh District, Haryana in the presence of 1,000 students, teachers, principals and partners of various schools that have been revitalised under the SMS Campaign.
It 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. The campaign is also committed to developing the overall infrastructure like play ground and a clean environment to encourage a holistic learning environment.
The campaign, in its first four years, has already revitalised 370 schools in 20 states across the country impacting nearly 120,000 students. The schools were cleaned with contributions of nearly Rs 20 crore.
The Schools revitalised under the campaign have served as model schools in several districts and have led to enhanced community engagement and higher emphasis on attendance and enrolment.
Venkatesh Kini, president Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, says, "We believe that businesses today should join hands with Government and Civil society to create a lasting positive impact on the communities in which we operate. In addition to our focus on environment and water, we have also been focused on education because we believe that education is the basis of social change. Over the years, Support My School has grown from being an initiative to a campaign that has more than 100 partners in 20 states across India."
Vikram Chandra, group CEO, NDTV, says, "We at NDTV have always been committed to initiatives that bring about positive changes in society. We are proud to partner with Coca-Cola for this campaign and extend our support to the students' needs of adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities."
Coca-Cola India offers a range of healthy, safe, high quality, refreshing beverage options to consumers. Over the last 20 years, ever since its re-entry in 1993, the company has been refreshing consumers with its beverage products - Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Thums Up, Fanta, Limca, Sprite, Maaza, Minute Maid range of juices, Georgia and Georgia gold range of hot and cold tea and coffee options, Kinley and Bonaqua packaged drinking water, Kinley Club Soda and BURN. The Company along with its bottling partners, through a strong network of over 2.2 million retail outlets.