Case study taken by Khandappa and Deepa Patil
Pic courtesy – Deepa Patil
That one week of every month used to be a nightmare for Sahana, a 10th standard student at Siddhartha School, Bangalore. She could not even think of going to school when she used to have her periods. The toilets in her school were devoid of basic facilities. They were broken, filthy and non- functional. There was little access to water, if they had to use the toilet, in case of emergency.
As they had no other alternative, most of Sahana’s friends used to skip their classes during those days particularly because of the embarrassment they had to undergo as they did not have a proper private area to change their napkins and clean up themselves.
Though many of them wanted to attend schools, they were not allowed by their parents as the latter is aware of the lack of facilities in the school. As a result, girls would miss almost a week of school every month, falling behind others in classes when they resume their classes.
Sahana never skipped school, but she always felt uncomfortable during those days as she could not focus on her classes.
But things changed for the better as ‘Reaching Hand’ intervened and started building toilets for them say Sahana. “Things are very different now as Reaching Hand has built us toilets. It has been a huge help.”
Now the boys and girls have separate toilets after Reaching Hand implemented its programme ‘Girls Glory at Siddhartha School.
Girls, now rarely miss classes and can comfortably manage their menstrual hygiene in the school toilets that also have dust bins to dispose of their used napkins. Besides, students are provided with menstrual pads at schools. They also received classes on menstrual health.
Sahana shared her gratitude for Reaching Hand and said “Thanks to Reaching Hand as we now have good toilets and clean drinking water. They also painted our school and put on a really fun function! I feel like Reaching Hand is our friend.”