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Keep the Girls at School

bangladesh

Keep the Girls at School

charity: water | Aug. 10, 2011

A year and a half ago, No. 57 Government Primary School didn’t have a bathroom. At first, Khadija tried using the fields close to school, so she wouldn’t have to miss so much class. She’d have a friend stand guard so that no one else could watch or bother her.

But this became “too troublesome” — two people missing class instead of one. So Khadija and her friends started using the toilets of neighbors that lived near school.

In bright green uniforms, Khadija and her classmates stood out as they walked about 20 minutes along the street to strangers’ houses to take care of their business. Boys in the neighborhood would follow them, yell at them, sometimes throw things at them. One day, a crew of kids crushed stones on top of Khadija’s head.

In 2010, charity: water and local partner Concern Worldwide provided a clean water project and separate block latrines for boys and girls here. Since then, rates of waterborne illness here have decreased by 15%. Attendance and enrollment have both increased; now, 100% of students in Khadija’s area attend school. And reports of harassment have fallen by 8%. Khadija told us she feels safer at school; she’s not the only one. Across Shariatpur, Concern Worldwide found that the increase in girls’ attendance was directly due to the decrease in abuse and harassment.

Khadija’s story is just one example of how water and sanitation projects at schools can make kids at these schools healthier, more prepared to learn — and even safer.

Read and watch the whole story on charity: water’s blog here >

video directed, shot, edited by: Mo Scarpelli
story photographed and written by: Mo Scarpelli
translations by: Trisha Dalal

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