Sunday Fun Day at Laundry Camp

June 2019

They arrived with small baskets full of clothes on top of their heads. One by one, the children gathered around the hand pump in Muljipura village, Madhya Pradesh.

For several weeks in 2018, village coordinator Anju Singh arranged a “laundry camp” for children every Sunday morning. The morning  would begin with yoga followed by Kabbadi or Kho-Kho, traditional Indian children’ games. But the highlight of the camp was laundry and baths.

The children happily washed their own clothes: school uniforms, shirts, pants and dresses. Using a nearby fence as a clothes line, the clothing was dry and ready to pick up within a few hours. Following the laundry activity was bath time. Anju helped pump the water and also washed the hair, face, and the whole child. The children quickly caught on and seemed to enjoy these fun Sundays. Even 3-year old Nosa washed her own dress, refusing to allow her mother to assist.

When Amrita SeRVe began its work in the villages, there was a serious lack of awareness about the effect of hygiene and cleanliness on health. Today Amrita SeRVe’s cleanliness and personal hygiene lessons for children in every village include 6 essential aspects:

  1.  Hand washing
  2.  Nail cutting
  3.  Combing hair
  4.  Taking a bath
  5.  Washing your own clothes
  6.  The Amala Bharatam Campaign – Environmental cleanliness

Lessons in early morning bathing before school and washing oneself again in the evening after playing have slowly become a habit. The positive outcome is that the children are paving the way towards a more hygienic and healthy village. After a few months of cleanliness practices, the children became the cleanliness ambassadors of their communities.