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A special awareness drive has been launched in Odisha's Ganjam district to ensure that poor school children build a habit of using footwear and stop moving around barefoot. The special drive - "Khalipada Ku Na" (No to barefoot) - is a part the ongoing programme in which school children are playing a major role by encouraging the people to use toilets, said District Education Officer (DEO), Sanatan Panda. He said it was noticed that several poor students go to school barefoot either due to lack of awareness of parents or financial constraints. "School headmasters have been asked to hold awareness meetings of parents to ensure that their wards use footwear while going to school for hygiene and safety of their feet," Panda said. The administration has also requested donors to come forward to adopt school/gram panchayat/ block to provide footwear to the poor students. "Since it is not a government programme, we have urged the donors, including government officials, organisations, political leaders and individuals to raise funds to provide footwear to the students," he said. While the district collector had promised to provide the children in Chhatrapur town with footwear after the launch of the drive, school teachers in some places arrange shoes for students coming barefoot, he said adding the drive has drawn good response.
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