Inspired by honeybees

Inspired by honeybees

Jenugoodu volunteers at a cleanliness drive.

At a time when WhatsApp groups are seen more as a nuisance than as a way to stay connected, some people have utilised this platform for the greater good. One such person is Vishal Bunt, who runs a mobile phone shop in Ankola. “Though I didn’t have big goals, I wanted to make a meaningful difference to society. I decided to use WhatsApp as a tool,” Vishal says. He created a WhatsApp group, Jenugoodu (translates to beehive in Kannada), in 2014 with his friends as members, and requested them to assemble at the nearby Keni school on October 2. As many as 15 members gathered and cleaned the school premises with the help of students.

Now the group has 90 members and Vishal coordinates the activities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, he visits neighbouring places with a few friends and identifies the work to be done. On Sundays, the team meets at a chosen place at seven in the morning with necessary equipment. 

So far, they have led 125 clean-up drives in public places such as schools, government hospitals and bus stands. They have also organised cleaning activities in residential areas with the active participation of residents. “The response to our activities keeps us motivated to continue the work,” says Vishal. 

Their efforts don’t stop at cleaning the surroundings. The team, with the help of donors, has distributed vegetable seeds among students to develop kitchen gardens in schools. They also extend financial support to schools to give uniforms to underprivileged students. In spite of all these pro-people activities, there is a clear understanding among the members to remain away from politics. 

“Six months ago, an enthusiast from Yellapur invited us to lead a cleaning activity in his village. I suggested that he forms a team of local people in the same way we did,” says Vishal. Eventually, a team named Jenugoodu, was formed in Yellapur, and 25 cleaning activities have been organised so far. This effort has also been replicated in Bhatkal. Vishal’s group has some members from other districts and even they intend to form groups in their localities.