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VICTORY! WE WON KARNATAKA ANNOUNCES 100CR FOR #CLEANSCHOOLTOILETS

Updated: Jul 12, 2022


 

My dear friends,

I have the most exciting news. WE WON!! On March 8th, Mr. Yediyurappa, the CM of Karnataka announced the state budget and allocated Rs 100 crore as a separate budget for government-run schools. This huge sum will be spent over two years to upgrade toilets and provide water facilities in all 49,000 government schools in my state. Panchayath Raj institutions will be accountable for managing this exercise. This is the first time a separate budget has been dedicated to school toilet maintenance. This is a huge victory for my campaign, which you all know is mainly focused on toilet maintenance and cleanliness. March 8th 2021 is amazing day for 7 years of handwork. This is one the most amazing gifts I have received. I owe a big thank you to all of you who supported me a long the way with your signatures and encouraging messages. I am super happy. When I was watching the budget speech on live TV yesterday, I was praying. When this wonderful news spread, so many people started calling and texting me. Many government school teachers and students, whom I met and interacted with over the years in my work as a menstrual health and sanitation activist, sent me congratulatory messages on Whats-app and SMS. Even journalists in top media started tagging me in their tweets. A few of them reached out to personally say kind words and promised to write about this news. You can look out for the story in the media. I dedicate the victory to the girls I worked with Rajajinagar govt school, children studying in rural government schools and especially the young girls who are working on their own to solve sanitation issues in their village. It is their story that reminded me so much of my own and inspired me to take up this fight as a digital campaign. It is because of them that I didn’t give up despite all the hurdles. My next plan is to ensure that this budget allocation is used correctly, with special focus on 64-70% of schools which have bad toilets. There’s more good news. I have now got an appointment with Mr. L K Atheeq. He is the Principal Secretary in the Ministry for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR). I connected with him over WhatsApp. He shares my interest in having a deeper conversation around how to ensure the newly allocated funds are utilised correctly so that children really get to use clean school toilets every single day. I will be meeting him on this Friday, 12th March. When I meet him in person, I will convey that I am happy to volunteer as a Resource Person with RDPR and Education Departments to bring sustained changes in govt schools. And finally to those who said, “this campaign will not win. Online campaign doesn't hold much value”. I invite them to join us in celebrating this win. This campaign has proved it is possible to use one’s ground level experiences and personal story to create a winning campaign on a technology platform like Change.org. We managed to make the government talk about and act on an issue that hardly any one card to even think about.



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