Creating long-term change through students

“The school has totally changed,” says Priya, a 17-year-old student at a high school in Patharpratima, West Bengal, India.

In partnership with a local partner, Water For People has completed new water and sanitation facilities at Priya’s school.

“Before, there was no running water, no handwashing station, and no menstrual hygiene resources for girls,” explains Priya.

Now, the school has sufficient sanitation facilities for all its 1,692 students. There are taps with running water, handwashing stations, and resources for girls like changing rooms and incinerators for pads when they are having their periods. Like Priya says – the school has completely changed.

“We are very happy that we have the new facilities,” says Priya. “After completing the new toilet blocks, school attendance has improved.”

To help promote proper usage of the improved water and sanitation facilities, Priya’s school implemented curriculum about hygiene. There is a quarterly meeting at the school where students discuss different hygiene or water-related topics, such as handwashing, personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene, or protecting the environment and water resources.

Like Priya, most of the students at the school take what they learn in school about hygiene and share it with their families, motivating their siblings and members at home to practice better hygiene.

“I did not have a toilet in my house,” she shares. “After the school toilets were completed, I encouraged my parents to build a household toilet. Now my whole family has better personal hygiene!”

Biman Maity has been the Headmaster at Priya’s school for nearly a decade. He said there was a huge change in students after the water and sanitation facilities were completed, and they have been excited about the hygiene lessons.

“All of the students are very excited about the hygiene education topics,” shares Biman. “They are sharing these hygiene messages with their friends and parents, which is changing hygiene practices in households and throughout communities.”

Biman also feels proud that the students are maintaining the water and sanitation facilities, each playing a vital role in keeping the facilities in good condition for generations to come.

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