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Desh Apnayen awards to students for community service

A Draft Correspondent | Mumbai

Winners of the ACTIZEN Contest, a 'Desh Apnayen' initiative, were felicitated at an awards ceremony at YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai on 3 February 2020. The Chief Guest was Marico Industries Founder Harsh Mariwala at the awards ceremony that was attended by school principals, teachers and students from across India.

The details of the nation-wide ACTIZEN Contest details were shared with thousands of schools and over 11,000 students registered for the two-stage contest where hundreds engaged in community service activities. Students from the top ten schools and their ACTIZEN mentor teachers pitched their ideas for solving civic issues to a Grand Jury comprising philanthropist Ashok Bhansali, film-maker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, brand consultant Kiran Khalap, journalist and author Mini Menon, Desh Apnayen Foundation founder Vallabh Bhanshali and pioneering industrialist and heritage conservationist Cyrus Guzder.

The Grand Jury selected PSBB Millennium School, OMR, Tamil Nadu for the ACTIZEN trophy i.e. the first position. The team came up with an innovative solution to purify water using something as simple as moringa (drumstick) seeds - a scalable option as it can be carried out with small or large quantities of water.

A special mention to the girls team from St Mary's English Medium School, Nellore
The Grand Jury made a special mention of St. Mary’s English Medium High School, Nellore for their outstanding ideas. The team of girls put up a wonderful and bold presentation encouraging everybody to combat pollution and climate change through organic farming. The top prizes included educational scholarships for the students and laptops for the schools. Certificates were given to all the participants.

Mahima, who studies in Class 8 at BS Mootha Girls Senior Secondary School, Chennai, said, "We did a survey to understand the quality of education in government and private schools in our area. I realised how fortunate and privileged we are because we have so many facilities and better education. I also realised that everyone is equal and should get the same education and that there should be no difference."

Principal of Pawar Public School, Mumbai Manjari Srivastava said, "Our students have experienced that they, too, need to work towards the betterment of the society. It is not only the government that does the work, but we as citizens also need to contribute. This message is very clear to the children now. They created the questionnaires for their research work on their own without any help. That itself is an awakening."

In its fifth edition now, the Desh Apnayen Awards 2019 were also presented to the top ten Champion Schools. The Foundation aims to shape students into becoming alert, informed and active citizens through its programmes in Civic and Citizenship Education, Volunteerism and Neighbourhood.