Teenage padwoman of Govandi slums gears up to represent India

Updated: Nov 13, 2018, 13:45 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai

As a campaigner, she led the community-based campaign 'WASH4LIFE'. Such young girls, who set an example for others, promise a bright future," said Bidisha Pillai, CEO for Bal Raksha Bharat (Save the Children)

Saleha Khan
Saleha Khan

Remember Govandi ki shaan Saleha Khan? mid-day had reported about the 18-year-old last month after she was selected as one of the delegates for the Goalkeepers '18, an event organised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New York on September 25-26. The padwoman of Govandi slums, who has counselled over 3,000 women, as well as men, on menstrual hygiene and sanitation, has just added another feather to her cap — she has been selected to represent India at the Partners Forum in Delhi in December.

"I have seen the suffering of women in the slum during menstruation. So, I wanted to spread awareness among people. After local social workers counselled and motivated me, I got myself involved in it and, soon, started taking sessions, teaching women and men about the importance of sanitation," said the youngster.

Along with the NGO Save the Children, over the last three years, the BCom student has conducted more than 250 sessions on menstrual hygiene and other WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)-related issues. Through street plays, photo exhibitions and talk shows, reaching over 10,000 community members, she has been able to influence more than 2,500 adolescent girls to adopt healthy menstrual hygiene practices.

"Saleha is one among the many youngsters of the community who are determined to act as catalysts of social change, one step at a time. As a campaigner, she led the community-based campaign 'WASH4LIFE'. Such young girls, who set an example for others, promise a bright future," said Bidisha Pillai, CEO for Bal Raksha Bharat (Save the Children).

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