32 Hour Cleanathon at valluvar Kottam

By L R Vignesh Suresh

While reading newspapers, we come across various problems and wish that we could have done something to resolve it. But when giving a second thought about the same, we convince our minds that it cannot be solved by us, citing the lack of resources as an excuse, and tend to forget it. This is an event that started with the same perspective but yet had a strong sense of hope to bring in a change, which paved the way for a grand success.

It was read by one of the members of team Thuvakkam in a newspaper article that Valluvar Kottam; a very famous area in Chennai had tarnished walls because of sticking posters on them. Despite having no significant history behind it, the team felt that it was necessary to restore the wall which was one of the major landmarks of the area. Further, this proved to be an ideal location to conduct Thuvakkam’s signature event “Clean up after Dark”, the only NGO to have had such a program at that time. Thus they went ahead to meet Valluvar Kottam’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mr. Kalai Selvan. He welcomed the initiative but raised concerns such as- availability of funds required to purchase the paints necessary for the work and the availability of man-power required for the job. At that time the team didn’t have any either, except the hope and the prior experiences of having painted government walls, government schools, and government buildings which were done at a small scale under the same event.

To acquire resources, they approached Nippon Paints, a company that regularly supplied them with paints. The staff in-charge was delighted on hearing the motive and immediately sanctioned their request. The next big thing was the presence of volunteers. It was planned to be completed in a single shot, so that the momentum would not be lost and thus was finalised to be painted at a single stretch, 36 hours straight. For recruiting volunteers, they approached colleges such as Stella Maris, DG Vaishnav, and corporates such as Cognizant and etc.

Despite the efforts, the volunteer count was less initially. Once the event announcement was made, there was a huge wave of volunteers who wanted to take part in this initiative. After long and deliberate discussions, the final plan was drafted and the event turned out to be a grand success. 350 unique volunteers guided by 30 Thuvakkam members worked relentlessly on an 8-hour rotation basis in accordance with the time slot, to make it the biggest event organised by Thuvakkam until that time. Following the wall painting, 133 trees were also planted and maintained regularly for 2 years, to increase the picturesque of the place.

About Author, 

L R Vignesh is a student pursuing his second year in Chemical Engineering. He is a freelancing content-writer alongside being the Editor-in-Chief of his department’s in-house magazine