In India, 1 in 100 girls make it to class 12. In a survey done by Milaan in 49 villages of Sitapur district in 2014, it was found that 63% of girls drop out after primary school. Over two-third of girls studying in standard 8 and 9 skip school during their periods. Culturally, in Uttar Pradesh, as in many other parts of India, menstruation is considered dirty and impure and during periods girls are discouraged to attend school, public places and forced to stay at home. This curtails their studies and eventually one-third of these girls drop-out. The stigma attached to menstruation, inadequate sanitation and absence of toilets for girls in schools, compounds the problem for girls who attend school.
Millaan was established in 2007, with an aim to improve the rural education system in Uttar Pradesh. It is a youth-led organization that works to build spaces for children and young people to explore their potential. In 2008, Milaan started a school in Sitapur with the help of the local community and launched a program called Swabhiman to encourage adolescent girls to re-enter school and graduate from class 10. To address the barriers faced by girls to access schools, they initiated a program in 25 government schools to make schools menstruation-friendly for female students. This culminated in the pilot of the Girl Icon Fellowship in 2015 to recognize adolescent girl change-makers from marginalized backgrounds who have led change in their villages.
Primary Location: Uttar Pradesh
Funded Since: 2016
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