Sewa International's SHE - Sanitation, Hygiene and Empowerment Project for the Girl Child
Sewa International is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) service organization. We undertake disaster rescue, and relief and rehabilitation work as well as implement development projects globally.
Sewa International’s Toilet and Hygiene Project for the Girl Child was conceived to provide sanitation facilities to girls who belong to the vulnerable section of Indian society so that they can overcome social and cultural norms of the till now accepted practice of open defecation outside of the home.
There are several ‘rights’ given to citizens of India but the right to a safe, secure, and healthy life at home and in schools is not one of them. Thus, we believe a “Right to Sanitation Facilities”, especially for our women and girl children who face several challenges everyday just to attend nature calls in a safe and secure environment, is much needed. We are committed to providing such toilet facilities in communities, neighborhoods, and schools, where they are not available so that we can ensure both dignity and safety to women and girl children.
Sewa International does not discriminate beneficiaries, volunteers, staff, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal and state laws.
#Yes! I can go to school..
Unlike her friends, Saritha who is physically challenged, could not walk long distances to attend her nature calls. She is immensely thankful to Sewa's team for building her a toilet. She is also successful in influencing her family to use the toilet. Her orthodox mother-in-law, who strongly felt that a toilet in the vicinity of a house is unacceptable, now uses the toilet instead of defecating in the open field. We need strong women like Saritha, who will propagate our mission and help us build swatch and surakshit bharath (clean and safe India).
Sixteen year old Aisha, studying in Urdu medium at Basava Theertha Vidya Peeta (BTVP) aspires to become a doctor. While interacting with the girls at BTVP, the lack of toilet facilities in the school was a major concern. On most days, girls skipped drinking water to avoid using open fields as toilets. After the installation of toilets in her school, Aisha welcomed Team Sewa with a huge smile on her face thanking us immensely for fulfilling the promise we made to them. Going through all the challenges in installing the toilets was worth that smile.
If we have to attend nature calls during the school hours, either we have to go home or find an open space nearby. Sometimes, we take two more girls from the class when we go out to attend nature calls so, they can watch out for us. During the menstrual period, we don't attend schools due to the lack of toilets. When we go home in between the school hours to use a rest room, most of the time we don't come back as our parents suggest us to stay home instead of going back to school. We hesitate and feel embarrassed to share or openly talk about these issues. Thanks to Sewa team, now we have toilets and we can attend school without interrupting our study hours.
- Class 8 and 9 Students, Lucknow Government school, Uttar Pradesh
This village has not seen a toilet since our ancestors have moved and settled here. Since we don't have any open field that we can use for nature calls, before sunrise, we use our house terrace to attend nature calls and then dispose them outside our village. We come from a poor economic background, and toilets are a luxury for us. Thank you Sewa International for travelling miles to help us, thank you for building community toilets. We don't have much words to express our gratitude. We are happy that our little girls do not have to go through what we have suffered for such a long time.
Durgaben, Baluva village- Uttar Pradesh