December 26, 2015
Shobana Chandrashekar, a resident of Ooty and married to a hotelier, was saddened by the fact that her city that is blessed with abundant natural beauty is being littered by residents and tourists alike. She decided to do something about it and began with her street first.
Last June, Shobana instructed her eight year old daughter Chitali Gowda to make a poster on the responsibilities of a citizen. Her daughter, who was enjoying her summer holidays then, came up with an impressive poster with the focus on proper disposal of garbage. An impressed Shobana asked her daughter to visit the residents of her street with the poster. She also had Chitali make the residents sign a pledge that they will keep their street clean.
“The residents cooperated and I had a few people come up to me and requested me to take this initiative ahead. Very soon about six like-minded residents of Ooty met at my home and we began discussing an action plan for the following week and month. The aim was to make Ooty beautiful,” Shobana said. This was how the Make Ooty Beautiful (MOB) movement began.
Since June last year, week after week, MOB has been tirelessly working towards identifying an unclean public area in Ooty, gathering materials and volunteers, and cleaning up the place. Schools now offer to send their students as volunteers, and hotels and resorts are also lend a helping hand in the cleaning drive. Initially, funds came from the core members of MOB. But Shobana revealed that a few good Samaritans have also made their contributions in kind. “Someone from America had sent us 100 pairs of gloves,” she said.
Apart from cleaning public spaces, Shobana and MOB also work towards cleaning up the walls of their city. The walls of the city have either political or spiritual posters stuck on them. MOB has worked towards making the walls poster-free and a team of volunteers paints the walls. On your next visit to Ooty, if you come across the walls in public spaces that sport the image of a lady with a broom or a beautiful artwork, be sure that it is the handwork of MOB.
MOB has recently started their garbage management project. This project has started on the Sheddon Road. As part of this project, a team of volunteers visited the residents of this road and educated them on how to dispose of the waste from their homes responsibly. “We are happy that residents of this street are cooperating. Waste is segregated and being disposed. Very soon, we will visit other streets and ensure that this project is implemented across Ooty.” Shobana added.