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GANGTOK | SEPT 27, 2020:
By Nitesh R Pradhan
Oddly enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has helped many people change their daily routines and opt for a more holistic approach to life. Similarly, it has also helped a group of teachers in Central Pendam, East Sikkim, to start a small initiative for the village.
Turning the tide around, ''Yuwa joggers'' have changed the monotonous village lifestyle into a much more productive and a health-oriented one.
A group of teachers comprising Sawan Dhakal and Suneel Dangal of Central Pendam Senior Secondary School and Sudershan Khatiwara of Pachak Senior Secondary School, have taken up a unique initiative under the banner Yuva Joggers to reach out to the youth by generating awareness on health and physical fitness.
The unique programme entails 7 kilometres of jogging, 7 kilometres of walking followed by career counselling sessions.
"We realised that there must be something more than what we do in school and home," says Sawan Dhakal.
Besides the daily jogs, the team has also come out with an idea to protect the environment by organising tree plantations, cleaning drives and other morning activities.
The teachers informed that 20 to 25 joggers from the village took part in the initiative while adhering to all COVID-19 protocols.
They named the group Yuwa Joggers Pendam and also came up with the slogan 'Run from Heart – Run For Good Health'.
"I feel happy to be part of this, and keen new joggers are joining daily, including six female joggers. This is not only jogging but a perfect initiation for physical and mental fitness, but it can carry many aspects for the positive uplifting of society, and any enthusiast can start this around their locality," says Sudarshan Khatiwara.
People from different walks of life, including students, are now jogging to keep themselves fit and healthy while keeping in mind the motto "Clear the trash, make the environment free of rash".
The joggers also dedicate an hour or two every Sunday in cleaning up the area.
"When the world is facing a mental breakdown, and most of us were devoid of physical activities, this kind of initiative helps the youth, especially when online gaming is banned," chimed in Suneel Dangal.
Their next plan of action is proper waste management. The group is also seeking the cooperation of the local panchayat members, Block Administrative Centre, and village residents for the installation of dust bins and other waste collection mechanisms.