Hubballi: Many a government school in Dharwad and Ballari districts have been repainted, ready to welcome back students, who have been forcefully cloistered at homes ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 nearly 20 months ago. These repainted school buildings was undertaken by the Santosh Lad Foundation, which is headed by former minister Santosh Lad.
The foundation launched an initiative, which entailed giving old government school buildings, houses and bus terminals a new splash of colour. Launched on October 2 to mark Gandhi Jayanti, the foundation has thus far repainted more than 2,000 schools, bus terminals and houses. The strained finances of a vast cross-section of society impelled the foundation to come forward to do its bit to improve the lot of those who were hit the hardest by the pandemic-induced crisis. While government school buildings in Kalghatagi and Alnavar taluks in Dharwad district now wear a new look, those in Kudligi, Sandur and Harpanhalli in Ballari don a bright new avatar that is certain to uplift the spirits of students.
Santosh Lad was motivated to launch, through his foundation, such an initiative when, during a visit to Gollarahatti in Kudligi taluk, he saw an old woman living alone in a decrepit house. “When I offered to paint the house for her, she readily accepted, after which I decided to offer to repaint houses of those in need, regardless of caste, creed and community,” the former minister said.
Santosh Lad was particularly impressed with the enthusiasm of the volunteers – more than a hundred of them threw themselves into the initiative with gusto. “Our objective, when we began, was to repaint at least 10,000 buildings – schools, bus terminals, houses, et al – and we have already reached a fifth of that target,” he added.
Santosh Lad Foundation president Anand Kalal pointed out that it was the owners of the homes that decided on the shade of the paint that they wanted to adorn their houses. “As we travelled from one village to the other, we decided to give a facelift to old government school buildings and bus terminals, which were not in great shape,” said Kalal, adding that the foundation bore all the expenses for the paint.
Former Dharwad zilla panchayat president SR Patil, a resident of Mukkal village, was all praise for the initiative undertaken by the Santosh Lad Foundation. “It was very difficult for the villagers to continue our tradition of painting houses afresh during the festive season owing to the financial crisis. Although work on painting of many houses in our village was scheduled to start, it was delayed owing to the rain,” said Patil.


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