Kanya Madhya Vidyalaya was established in 1962 in the Seyal cluster of Bhurkunda, Ramgarh district (Jharkhand). The ratio of female to male students is 51:49 and the school has an attendance rate of over 80%. However, poor hygiene practices among students with limited sanitation facilities available in the school resulted in a high incidence of illness among children from the community. Further, no facilities for menstrual hygiene management acted as a barrier for girls’ education, compelling them to avoid going to school during menstruation.
In order to counter this problem, LEADS implemented the ‘WASH in School’ programme with the support of UNICEF Jharkhand and the involvement of the Bal Sansad, teachers, parents, School Management Committee (SMC) and the village Mukhiya.
The focus of this programme was to encourage proper hygiene practices- such as washing hands with soap and water, both before meals and after using the washroom, a soap bank corpus fund of the Bal Sansad and formation of a sanitary napkin bank. Mr. Ravish Kumar- a teacher in the school- and Ms. Twinkle Kumari- a student of class 8th and the Bal Sansad Prime Minister- took the lead in initiating the discussion with SMC members and parents about a continued contribution of soap for the soap bank to maintain cleanliness and hygiene among children of the school.
The soap bank was a successful initiative, with the SMC and parents donating either cash or soap as per their wish. A good amount of money has also been collected in the Bal Kosh through contributions by the SMC and parents. The SMC also started a new trend of gifting soap along with chocolate as a birthday gift to the students. Students have shown a keen interest in the programme and display good hygiene practices, ensuring their good health and continued attendance in the school.
For effective menstrual hygiene management in schools, the village Mukhiya utilized the funds from the 14th Finance Commission to set up a sanitary napkin vending machine in the school. Girls can deposit a Rs. 5 coin to get a napkin. The provision of sanitary napkins in the school has reduced female absenteeism, thus facilitating better access to education for girls.
 Student Parliament
 Village Head
 Children’s Fund
*This case study was contributed by Life Education and Development Support (LEADS)