Archana KR, is a social worker and activist who works in Bangalore, Karnataka,. She studied in a government school, and almost never used the public toilet in her school in all those years. For a few years, they did not even have toilets. After visiting her village as an adult, she realized that the problem persisted and began her journey with SHE.
Working as a one-woman army and visited schools across Bangalore and rural areas surrounding, surveying the situation of toilets. She recorded the lack of government funding to maintain toilets, lack of knowledge about hygienic practices and general ignorance about sanitation and preference for open defecation. More importantly, she noted that due to unhygienic environments, women and girls in schools were most unsafe; the lack of a clean place to practice menstrual hygiene and defecation affects women and children in a disproportionate manner.
To tackle these issues at the grassroots level, Archana conceptualised SHE (2018) as a movement to improve access and education about hygiene and sanitation.
Since then she has impacted several lives by connecting dots between policy, government officials and the community.
Reduced school drop-out rate among girls
Increased awareness about menstrual health management (MHM)
Reduced risk to women's health
Increased social safety for women and girls
Improved maintenance of and increased accessibility to public toilets to reduce ODF
Only 12% of women use sanitary napkins during menstruation. 88% are forced to rely on cloth, ashes, and husk sand which puts them at a high level of risk towards infections and other health problems.
21% schools in India do not have functional toilets. 18.9% school do not have a functional toilet for girls.
Nearly 23% of girls drop out of school due when they start menstruating due to a lack of a hygienic environment, toilets and running water to safely manage their period.
In Karnataka, 1495 government schools do not have a functional toilets for girls.
The percentage of schools that have a running water facility has reduced to 69% (2022) from 77% (2018).
UDISE, ASER, C3 reports '21-'22
Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. With Life skills that SHE provides, children in schools have a greater chance of being open to new ideas and developing good habits in their most formative years.
We empower them to become active and consistent agents of change.