Indian actor Aamir Khan helped launch a campaign to promote cleanliness in schools across the country at a function in New Delhi on 27 April 2010. Mr. Khan is the Brand Ambassador of the National School Sanitation Initiative, a joint programme of the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) and the GTZ (Germany).
Union human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal wants actor Aamir Khan to convey this message to school children: Wash your hands before eating. Drink clean water and inculcate clean habits.
Upset that only 9% school students wash their hands before eating and that many do not maintain hygiene, Sibal plans to educate students about sanitation at schools, through innovative ways. Knowing that his word will not have the desired impact, Sibal has roped in the actor.
Khan will be the government’s brand ambassador to promote healthy and clean habits among children. The minister feels students will listen to their favourite actor more carefully, and he was not wrong in his assessment about Khan’s popularity.
INX News video of the launch
At the launch function of the National School Sanitation Initiative, Khan was mobbed by about 1,000 fans seeking autographs. The students broke past the security ring, and for a change neither the actor nor the minister cribbed about it.
Zee News report of the launch (in Hindi)
Overwhelmed, Khan promised Sibal he will prepare campaign material to promote sanitation. Khan said he would record awareness packages to be distributed in schools in CD format or be made available on the internet.
A school sanitation manual which will become part of the CBSE curriculum was also released at the launch.
As part of the initiative, health and wellness clubs are being set up, initially in the more than 100 schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
Visit the Urban School Sanitation Initiative web site
Mr. Khan’s role as Sanitation Ambassador has been satirized by NDTV, which features him on a clean up mission of India politics.