As the day-long Mission Paani event commenced on the 72nd Republic Day of India, many including water warriors, politicians, union ministers and celebrities came together on Network18 to take the pledge of water conservation. And among the many who took the pledge was Ranjitsinh Disale, the schoolteacher from Maharashtra who went viral on social media after winning a $1 million prize.
Disale, who became a household name in December 2020 after winning the coveted Global Teacher Award, graced the day-long Mission Paani Waterthon initiative undertaken by News18 and Harpic India. The event aims to bring the conversation on water conservation to the forefront of civil society discourse by encouraging and felicitating water warriors and environmentalists like Disale.
Though his fans know Disale as a teacher, not many know that he is also an environmentalist at heart. Disale, who is from Paritewadi village in Maharashtra's Solapur district, has been encouraging water harvesting techniques among the students in his village to preach water conservation during the coronavirus lockdown last year.
"During the lockdown, we started an observation seat to monitor how much water and electricity is used by each student at home," Disale told News18. "Based on data, students prepared a plan of action to understand for how long the water available in the village can be used," he added.
"They also devised a plan B in case there is a rainfall deficit. Students have now started using water judiciously," Disale said.
Disale won the $1 million annual Global Teacher Prize 2020 in recognition of his efforts to promote girls' education and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India. The schoolteacher believes that teachers are the world's "real changemakers", had promised to share half of the prize money with the other finalists.
On Wednesday, Disale and other change-makers like water warrior Amla Ruiya and Dr Fawzia Tarannum, child environmentalist Licipriya Kanjugam and actors like Akshay Kumar, came together to support the cause of water conservation.
The youth is important when it comes to climate action and saving resources like water. Having teachers like Disale onboard the initiative increases the scope of its message at the ground level.
Mission Paani, an initiative by CNN News18 and Harpic India is leading a drive to save India’s precious water resources and make hygiene a way of life. You can contribute to the cause by taking a Jal Pratigya. Visit www.news18.com/mission-paani