United Nations organizations like UNICEF, and World Bank support initiatives that invest in girls’ education, recognizing its critical role in transforming a girl’s life, her community and beyond. It has been well established that educated girls are more likely to lead healthy and productive lives, are less likely to marry very early, and build better futures for themselves and their families. There is also a strong correlation between girls’ education and reduction in child and maternal mortality rates, which are key Ekam objectives.
However, many schools, particularly in rural or less developed areas often lack basic amenities to ensure girls’ education. These include amenities for safety, hygiene and sanitation including menstrual hygiene management. Girls in these schools are forced to either forgo hygienic practices or miss school days, falling behind in their education and eventually dropping out. There is data to support that absenteeism is particularly high among teenage girls.
Ekam USA partners with Ekam Foundation in India to address many of these barriers by ensuring better infrastructure in schools and providing adolescent training to schoolchildren.
This fundraiser aims to improve the girls’ toilets in three schools in Madurai, Tamil Nadu:
1. Palamedu Government Higher secondary school, Alanganallur block provides education through grade 12 to 1306 students, with only 626 girls vs 680 boys. The girls’ toilet is nonfunctional and there is only one incinerator for 450 adolescent girls.
2. Mayandipatti Government school, Madurai east block provides education up to 10th grade and has 173 boys, vs only 105 girls. The walls, roof, doors and windows of the girls’ toilet are severely damaged and there is no sewage system, making it impossible for them to use these facilities.
3. Panchayat Union Middle School, LKT Nagar, Sakkimangalam block has grades 1-8, with 140 boys and 200 girls. The girls’ toilets are non-functional and lack a sanitary pad incinerator.
A total investment of $1300 will enable Ekam to greatly improve facilities in these three schools, through repairing the girls’ toilets, and ensuring they have adequate sanitary pad incinerators. All these schools are either in very rural areas or economically backward areas, where gender disparity in secondary education is a major problem, as seen in #1 and #2 above. Ensuring removal of barriers for these girls who are interested in education and whose families are also supportive is an easy-to-implement solution to improve the health and future of these communities. Showing these girls that there are people who care goes a long way to improve their morale and strengthen their commitment to education.