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Helping girls feel safe at school – every day

POSTED December 8, 2017

Helping girls feel safe at school – every day

New bathrooms with toilets, handwashing stations and incinerators changes the lives of female students

By Lipi Jobson, CCFC communications manager, India

India girls sanitation

Menstruation can be a difficult time for adolescent girls, often bringing discomfort, pain, fatigue and other symptoms. But, imagine it also meant having to miss one week of classes each month.

That was the reality in an area of South India, where Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works. Here, girls would stay home from school rather than face the mockery and embarrassment associated with disposing their used pads — rags made at home from old clothes — in plain sight of other students.

“I always felt frustrated, irritated, ashamed, and sometimes I felt very bad about [being a girl],” confesses Jothiga, 17. “We had no proper place to dispose our used napkins. Instead, I would throw pads into the bushes near my school.”

 “I’m happy I can come to school without anger or shame — even during my period.” — Dhivya, 17

Thanks to your support, Jothiga’s school, along with four others in the region, have been equipped with proper sanitation facilities complete with toilets, handwashing stations and incinerators for disposal of used napkins. There are also dispensers for girls to access fresh pads, when needed.

“The incinerator makes me feel protected,” says Libiya, 15 (above), a student benefiting from the new sanitation facilities. “We feel relieved and safe from ridicule. On behalf of adolescent girls, we are thankful for the project.”

In addition to the new facilities, girls are learning about the importance of reproductive health and hygiene. Now, more than 1,500 girls can attend school uninterrupted during their periods.

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