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The Terrible State Of Schools In Udaipur That’s Forcing Students To Miss Classes

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Udaipur is a district in Rajasthan that has been further divided into 17 blocks. Most of the population of these blocks are tribals, living in rural set-ups. Education is the most pressing need of the hour; it acts as a ray of hope for these underprivileged people living in conditions where three meals a day are difficult to manage.

Sarada block of Udaipur consists of 219 villages, but only 170 schools, out of which just 20 are secondary schools, 40 upper primary, and the rest provide education till class 5.

The Government is trying to bridge the gap by developing plans and schemes which only become poisonous in the long run. One such scheme is the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. Many out of these 170 schools were built under this scheme. What, then, is wrong? Isn’t it great to have these many schools? Sadly, the correct response is ‘no’.

The word school derives from the Greek word ‘skholē’ originally meaning “leisure”. A school is thus a place where you have the leisure to pursue anything. When we think of a school, we have an image of classrooms with benches, blackboards, proper management of students, painted walls, and all kinds of things which help in creating a healthy environment or space for kids that is conducive to learning.

But, most of the kids in Sarada block are forced to study under ceilings leaking rainwater. The school walls cannot even hold chart papers because of the excess moisture in them. The plaster on the walls has started peeling on its own. The corridors are also in similar conditions.

The attendance of students drops by 40-50% during the rainy season, because the water is all over the classrooms through the ceilings. We even have to club different classes in one classroom to let the school function on many days, which definitely hampers class-wise learning,” said Kailashchand Ameta, who serves as a teacher in Government Upper Primary School, Bootvas, Sarada.

The schools are made of the same material as most houses in the area, but only very rarely will you see a house’s ceiling leaking. The labourers are also local, and involved in the construction of houses and other buildings alongside the schoolhouse.  The buildings for Panchayat Samitis, Atal Seva Kendras, SDM offices etc are unaffected during rains in this area. Seeing only school buildings be affected by the rainwater is troubling. It hints towards the possibility of large scale corruption happening at the implementation levels of these government schemes. Similarly, when it comes to implementation, the scheme of providing seasonal fruits once in a week to the students in the government schools of Rajasthan is also failing miserably in deprived areas like these.

Kali Meena, a resident of Ambala Village of Sarada who also happens to be a mid-day meal worker, says,“These governments come and go, they keep changing policies, but nobody knows what actually happens with poor people like us. Sometimes, we don’t even have a space to make food for the kids because here we only use firewood and we cannot light the fire because of the raindrops dripping off the ceilings. We still manage. Only we know how.

The villagers are compelled to either keep their kids at home or send them to these schools where they have to form elaborate strategies in order to find a dry place to sit. The communities are not economically well-off enough to send their kids to the fully equipped private schools functioning in the area. “Bachcho ko padhaana to hai hi, ab school nahi bhejein to kya kare? Teacher jaise taise to baitha hi dete hain bachchon ko school mein (We have to educate our kids. Now, what should we do if we can’t send them to school? The teacher makes them sit haphazardly, wherever possible),” said  Keshav Meena from Udpuriya Village. His daughter, Pramila, has just passed class 5. She wants to pursue teaching as a profession in her future.

Consider a student being irregular in the initial three months of an academic year, during the rainy season. How will that kid ever catch up with the pace of studies? No matter how sharp or brilliant, it will be difficult for them to understand the theoretical concepts and lessons due to a lack of continuity.

It is crucial to get down on the field to improve the state of affairs; the bottoms-up approach is exactly what India as a nation needs for development in such realistic scenarios.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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