How We Started
It was late evening, sometime in June 2014, when two close friends were taking a stroll along the National Botanical Garden of Sydney. Hunter green trees along the walking pathway were swaying in cool winter breeze (June-July is peak winters in Australia). Suddenly, their random discussions veered towards a topic which most Indians, who have seen developed world, whine about. More importantly, this was a topic which these two gentlemen closely associated with. And that was when an idea was born through a myriad of discussions on various topics but finally converging into one of the most pressing problems of their country – cleanliness.
While we were taking a stroll engrossed into our discussion, we wondered why was it that the developed countries are so neat and clean?
It is not that the developed world has thousands of people sweeping every corner of the city 24/7. It is also not because there are no throw-away packages.
The answer is simple – it is about the society and the attitude of its people. Probably, there would be very few countries where the chief driver is enforcement, but in majority, it is the self-discipline of its people. It is ingrained in the psyche of the people to not indulge in any act which causes folly. There are just a few scattered incidents from time to time, mostly committed by tourists.
After venting out our frustration on the state of affairs, our focus meandered on finding solutions to these problems. We discussed on the possibilities which can be exercised at an individual’s capacity – some thoughts which might help bring a change in our habits. In a nutshell, how can ‘Me’ and ‘U’ contribute. As a first step of this journey, we created a Facebook page and after some deliberation, we named it – ‘Change Starts from Me and U’. Though a mouthful, but at its heart, it calls for involvement through self-discipline (and preaching later).
This happened few months before the then Prime Minister of India called it out as a national movement. India should be thankful that a national leader started the Swachh Bharath (Clean India) movement. A mission which is now driven by the Government of India and has a popular Prime Minister taking personal interest giving an amazing boost to the initiative. The movement has gained speed with more and more participation from individuals, society and corporates.
Already, we see many groups and individuals who are doing tremendous work in this area. ‘Change Started’ is our small contribution and we envision to expand into areas which look trivial but has a potential impact.
Hopefully, the momentum will continue and soon we will stop complaining and rather start participating towards making this world a better place.