An NRI-TURNED JANITOR
The Pink City or Jaipur is known for its architectural marvels, museums and a range of handiwork that attract domestic and international tourists. But there is a fear that it may soon turn into a ‘filth city’. Tired of the filth in his parental city of Jaipur and the attitude of the people towards the menace of garbage A non-resident Indian (NRI), felt restless and upset and he decided to make a difference.
The NRI named Avi Dandiya suddenly felt that a majority of people were dissatisfied and unhappy with the dirt lying around and filthy public urinals et al that threatened the city affecting people’s hygiene; those who were unable to do anything at their level about it. He was committed to make a change and decided to do so with the help of social media. He created an event page on facebook inviting people to come forward and take the initiative of cleaning the city.
The response surprised him as the page went viral and within a few hours, hundreds of people came forward with their support. As a result, Team Clean Jaipur (TLCJ) was born on December 9, 2012. A simple matter of taking the initiative for a positive cause brought many like-minded people together who are now committed to cleanliness.
The TCJ is an effort that is one of a kind as it has no formal organization or structure and still functions as one cohesive unit. The threads of mutual respect and team work tie its members together and keep them working for the cause of cleaning the city and more importantly keeping it clean through awareness drives.
The cleaning events are known as ‘Festivals of Cleaning’ as it is only cleanliness which can spread actual cheer. Since the first festival things have moved very fast on all fronts for TCJ as it is called by one and all now in the Pink City. It functions on a simple but philosophy, “don't blame someone, instead just figure out how you can make things better and invite everyone to join you.” A core team was formed by mutual consent of volunteers which coordinates the various things. TCJ has over 2000 members that are growing by the day.
"We were surprised at the support pouring in from the city’s residents and appreciation by the administration for our festivals and efforts. I had an idea and I believed in it, marches and initiatives for revenge will fail which is why so many do, but a positive idea will take root and grow on its own.”
The focus of TCJ is: Clean the area and work with administration and people of that area and to spread awareness about cleanliness. Cleanliness has to be at the forefront of our minds till it becomes a habit. Radio jingles, slides at cinema halls, e-mails and all forms of awareness for cleanliness is our plan to wake up the city to clean and become healthy for its residents. TCJ is trying to connect with people in every locality and making teams so that each locality can take care of the garbage with the help of core management group, the entire operation is based on citizens and administration working together can achieve the common goal of cleanliness and hygeine.
"There is data for all registered people, indemnity forms are filled and there is a procedure which TCJ follows. Those under 18 are not allowed for any events. Safety is paramount and the cleaning festivals are a beautiful combination of teamwork, dedication, commitment, discipline and fun, definitely fun. TCJ gets e-mails and telephone calls asking for details about their functioning and of wanting to join in, people are participating by sending us photographs of garbage strewn around with their complaints about city civic authorities’ apathy", says a TCJ spokesman.
In just over a month, TCJ has shown in the Walled City that the administration and people can successfully work together in bringing about a change in the peoples attitude towards cleanliness and make a difference on the ground.