Schools provide excellent opportunities to support sanitation and hygiene promotion. It is a crucial factor in influencing behaviour through hygiene practices connected to personal and public hygiene. Access to clean and safe sanitation and drinking water is a major factor in retention of students in schools, especially government schools. 9-years-old Ayesha is a student of SDMC Primary School in New Delhi and studies in class 4th. She stays with her father, Zuber Khan, her mother, Raveena Khatun, and two younger brothers in Somya Vihar. The family of five is taken care of by her father who earns his livelihood by selling vegetables in the local market. Like every father, Ayesha’s father also wished to give her the best in life and got her admitted to a public school initially. The income of her father was not enough to pay her school fees and manage the household, he was forced to withdraw his daughter from the public school and get her enrolled in a government run school.
Ayesha was distraught while moving to a new school, she was sad for not being able to meet her old friends regularly. She was petrified to see the condition of toilets in her new school. The foul smell emanating from the toilets made her life miserable in school and she prayed for the bell to go off so that she could go home. She would not use the toilets at schools and would remain absent in cases of emergency. Her health was also affected due to the deplorable state of sanitation in her school, she started falling sick on a regular basis. There was no proper supply of water for drinking and for washing hands. Children started dirtying the outer walls of the toilets as they were not sensitised about the good practices of hygiene. All these factors started affecting her studies and she started remaining absent for long gaps.
Now with the support received from Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KCC) through CAF India validated NGO Sakshi, the toilets have been repaired and beautified. Ayesha is now back in school and is jubilant to see the renovated toilets and walls. Sensitisation workshops are also being organised for students to inform them about the good practices of sanitation and hygiene. Ayesha takes part in all activities that are being organised by our NGO partner. Poems, songs and drawings on the themes of cleanliness and hygiene are being used as the medium to sensitise them. The importance of washing hands before having meals and after using washrooms have also been taught.
Ayesha is now a regular student who enjoys coming to school without any apprehension. Thanks to the intervention, she now uses the toilet in school. She gleefully says, “I tell my parents and brothers about the good hygiene practices I have learnt in school so that they stay healthy. When I tell my mother about all the good habits that I have learnt, it makes her really happy and she smiles at me”
Sakshi is a CAF India validated and supported NGO which is aided by our corporate partner Kimberly –Clark Corporation (KCC) under our CSR initiatives.