Bihar's governmental school system is one of the most underfunded in India. Hence, children hardly learn anything even in normal times. More than 50 percent of the children on governmental schools are first generation learners, i. e. the first from their families learning how to read and write.
Schools in India are closed since March 2020. Now, it is at least planned to reopen them gradually. However, many children were completely detached from education for months. They are facing the risk of being married as teenagers or subjected to child labour. Due to a lack of adequate devices, TV or online programmes provided by the government were not accessible for the majority of children.
Another problematic aspect is sanitation, especially for children during their menstruation. On the one hand, in many parts of Indian society this topic is still a taboo. On the other hand, many children lack access to sanitary napkins. Consequently, in normal times they miss four to five schools days per months.
Together with our partner organisation Prayatna, we plan to distribute learning material like simple games, storybooks and an activity-based calendar to students of several governmental schools in Bihar in order to give them access to education during the restart of schools or in case of renewed school closures.
All students will receive reusable cloth face masks. Additionally, girls from grades 6 to 8 will receive degradable sanitary napkins which are produced by another social project.
Prayatna staff will provide the recipients with information on hygiene precautions, female menstruation and the use of the learning materials.
Die Mitarbeiter von Prayatna werden bei der Verteilung auch Aufklärung hinsichtlich der Einhaltung von Hygienemaßnahmen, zur weiblichen Menstruation und nur Nutzung der Lernmaterialien betreiben.
Production and purchase of sanitary napkins and face masks
The sanitary napkins will be produced by a self-help groups (SHG) from difficult backgrounds. The social enterprise Aakar Innovations allows women to produce economic and fully degradable sanitary napkins of high quality in their villages. These sanitary napkins are fully degradable - an important characteristic to avoid garbage and protect the environment.
A total of 30 to 40 women is be employed along the supply chain.
The face masks will be as well produced by local SHGs supported by Prayatna. These SHGs are made up of transsexual people, a group that is discriminated also in India and, therefore, has often little access to employment.