Deepak Sabar and Jyoti Parabhoi, Class 10 students in the Gram Vikas Residential school in Kalahandi, bagged the first and second positions in a student-led national level campaign called ‘Student Champs for Climate Action’ in 2022. They won from amongst 7000 students who participated from across India. Deepak, who studies in Gram Vikas Shikshya Niketan School, a Gram Vikas residential school in Thuamul Rampur block in Kalahandi district, has been reading on various topics on the climate crisis and its adverse impact on nature and humans alike.
He used his painting skills to drive the message about the effects of climate change and spread the word among other students in his school and his community. Slowly, his paintings became popular among his peers. They used the art work in rallies in nearby villages organised by the school on World Environment Day last year to spread awareness on environmental degradation. His paintings also encouraged students in his school and community to dispose of waste properly to keep the surroundings clean.
In August 2023, Deepak submitted a painting for a state-level competition on “Water is life, Water is food” organised by the State Wildlife Headquarters to spread awareness on rainwater harvesting. Speaking on what motivated him to paint on sustainable practices and saving the planet, he says, “I wanted to instil a sense of responsibility towards the environment in my community through action rather than just reading about sustainable practices in textbooks. My presentation to the jury for the Climate Action campaign was about the efforts I have made to generate interest towards saving the environment and our planet. These efforts have had an impact on my community and my peers in school alike.”
Jyoti spoke about students in her school, Gram Vikas Shikshya Niketan. She says students are proud to be able to grow vegetables and paddy for consumption during their stay at the school. They use only natural manure.
For the student-led national level campaign last year called ‘Student Champs for Climate Action’ where Jyoti bagged the second position, her presentation also highlighted the need for waste management like composting organic wastes and segregation of waste into separate bins for safe disopsal of non-biodegradable waste to minimise the chances of polluting the environment.
The students in her school have taken up the responsibility of waste management. They collect dried leaves, vegetable peels, and blend them with cow dung to create a mixture that undergoes a natural decomposition process. Over a span of three months, the waste materials transform into a fine, powdery substance.
Following the decomposition process, the compost is carefully spread out in the sun for 2-3 days, allowing it to dry thoroughly. This sunlight exposure not only aids in drying but also sterilises the compost. Once sufficiently dried, the compost goes through a sieving process to remove larger particles or any unwanted materials. This meticulous step ensures the compost has a finer and more consistent texture, making it ideal for soil enhancement.
The significance of this practice extends beyond waste management. By following this method, the students, effectively convert biodegradable waste into high-quality compost. This compost, rich in essential nutrients, serves as a valuable resource for improving soil fertility in agricultural and vegetable gardening highlighting the students’ dedication to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. Their efforts exemplify how simple yet effective techniques can lead to impactful environmental change and serve as a source of inspiration for others.