Kozhikode: Children were heartily welcomed in schools across Kerala with sweets, balloons and such on Thursday as part of the 'praveshanolsavam' ushering in another academic year.
However, at Eramangalam Government Lower Primary School near Balussery in Kozhikode district, something special was awaiting the children: pure and fresh water from the school's own well sweetened by their teachers' love and care.
Teachers Dhanya C K, Silja K V and Habeeba P V along with some colleagues visited the school on the eve of 'praveshanolsavam' to make essential arrangements. While inspecting the classrooms and other facilities, they noticed the well in the school compound had dried up; the bottom of the well was filled with mud and covered in dried leaves.
So how to draw water, they wondered.
Soon after, two of the teachers and some colleagues expressed readiness to get into the well themselves. Eventually, a group of women teachers jointly cleaned the well, washed it with fresh water brought from outside and managed to open its groundwater inlets. Finally, they filled the well with enough water provided by the grama panchayat for emergency use.
"We were in need of water as the school was to reopen on Thursday. The cook at the school was worried about the scarcity of water as well. So we were thinking of requesting the grama panchayat to provide water. It was Dhanya who was ready to go down into the well initially. But Silja went down first anyway using a long iron ladder; then Dhanya followed," explained Habeeba, who was actively involved in the 'mission'.
"We stood outside with wholesome support," she said.
Dhanya and Silja gathered the mud and waste from the bottom of the well and kept sending up buckets as others emptied the debris above.
"The well is relatively shallow as it is situated near a paddy field. So it was not very difficult to get into. Even when I saw the well dried up, I had thought of getting inside and cleaning it," said Dhanya. The headmaster in charge Sajith S was also present during the cleanup. Ally M P, Aneesha, Bindhu, Jasna, Teena and Pralitha were also part of the team that facilitated the effort.
On Thursday, much appreciation was showered upon the teachers at the lower primary school for their earnest work by the public and officials at the education department. General education minister V Sivankutty shared a photo of the school on social media.
The school has both Malayalam and English mediums of instruction; it has a kindergarten too. More than 50 kids were admitted to the kindergarten and almost 35 kids joined the first standard on Thursday alongside 150 kids in the lower primary classes.