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Sanitation ninja: Making Gandhi’s idea of a clean and hygienic India a reality.

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Archana addresses a group of students at a government school and advises them on personal hygiene and sanitation.


That’s Archana KR. When she sees a dirty toilet, she calls it out and puts an action plan in place, especially in government schools If there’s one thing Archana KR knows well is the state of the toilets in the state.

As a social worker who travels frequently on NH 75, Archana knows all about the 42 toilets along the way. This includes 14 toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Mission. In a petition which she started to bring to the government’s attention, the sorry state of toilets, Archana wrote, “I had gone to urinate when my long-distance public bus from Sakleshpur to Bangalore had halted for passengers to relieve themselves. I had expected to see water in the bucket as any normal person would. So you can imagine my disgust… when I saw algae and larvae, or simply put, the eggs of worms and mosquitoes breeding on the water surface. I raced out, unable to use the toilet. And suppressed the urge to urinate for the remainder of the journey.” This experience is not just Archana’s but it’s something that we have all experienced. Only, Archana decided to do something about it. Thirty-year-old Archana says she studied in a government school till Std 10 and from the time she left school till now, not much has changed with regard to toilets in government schools. As we celebrate the 150th centenary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is heartening to meet people like Archana KR, who are still promoting his message of making a clean and hygienic India a reality. Gandhi gave a lot of importance to sanitation and was opposed to manual scavenging. Archana’s sole mission is to fulfill a basic need: to have clean toilets in government schools in Bangalore and other parts of the state. Maintenance of toilets in government schools is often neglected – sometimes there’s no water and sometimes there are too few toilets to the number of students. Toilets or lack of them is one of the top reasons why girl students drop out of school in all developing countries, especially in India.

"My aim is to enable young girls to bring about sustainable changes pertaining to sanitation in their schools, homes and communities."

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