Karachi, once known as the city of lights, has now been blighted by the general apathy of its residents. The streets wear the look of a garbage dump and no wall is allowed to remain void of graffiti.
But for students of the Indus Valley School (IVS), keeping the city clean is one’s own responsibility. Armed with broomsticks, paint brushes, garbage disposal bags and a whole lot of energy, the students as well as volunteers from the corporate sector took up the daunting task to uplift Street 33 of Clifton Block 2.
What started as an assignment for the orientation class, quickly evolved into a monthly activity after the students were inspired by the ‘Ugly Indian‘ campaign from across the border.
Final result of what the street, cleaned by Indus Valley freshmen, looks like now. Image courtesy @khaulajamil
On Saturday, the class of more than 85 students managed to clean an area stretching over 500 metres. The garbage was collected into 107 bags, which were later taken away by municipal workers of the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC).
The participants picked up the garbage, whitewashed the walls and then painted motivational messages on them, inviting others to strive for a healthier environment. “The idea of involving students of the first year in this activity was to instill in them a sense of responsibility towards the environment,” said a part-time teacher at the IVS, Rahat Rafiq.
Elaborating on the origins of the idea, Rafiq explained that the street-cleaning campaign was the brainchild of a small town in Brazil, where people organised such activities to keep their areas clean. This, in turn, inspired other towns to make their own efforts for a better environment. “The students learn and polish their skills at school but we also want to inspire them to work for their city,” said Rafiq.
One of the main objectives of the activity was to give the street a fresh look and also inspire others to want to do the same in their neighbourhoods. The students engaged with residents of the area as well as passersby, inviting them to join in the activity.
Another picture from what we and our awesome @ivsaa FY students achieved today inspired by @theuglyindian
A resident of Marine Apartments, Abdul Qayum Akbani, expressed his delight at the activity being conducted in the area. “I saw these young students cleaning the street from my balcony and couldn’t stop myself from coming down here to encourage them for the great work they are doing,” said Akbani, while clicking pictures of the students and cheering them on.
The wall along the street, that was previously filled with slogans of political parties, was first whitewashed and then painted with symbols of trees and greenery. “At first, most of the students were reluctant to partake in the activity,” said a student, Humera Alvi. “When we reached the venue at 7am, however, everyone readily took up the task and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Another student, Hussain Akhtar, was of the belief that the students were quite creative and could use their skills in beautifying the city. Abdul Ghani, the spokesperson for ICI – the corporate venture that sponsored the event – expressed hope that such initiatives will help achieve a cleaner environment. “The blame game is never-ending,” he reasoned. “We always blame the government for not clearing the garbage from the roads, when in fact, we must learn to take responsibility for our own litter.”