Age is just a number when it comes to inspiring change

Story type
Case story
WaterAid India/Pause Photography

Mohini, all 10, takes great pride in the fact that she is part of the WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) club in her school in Kurad, a village in Haryana’s Sonipat district. She takes an active part in discussions centering around health and hygiene and in keeping a check on cleanliness among the other students in school. A student of class 5, Mohini’s school—and this collective awareness on matters related to hygiene—however, was not always like this.

“Our school has always had toilets but they were not in good condition,” Mohini said. Hardly maintained and not cleaned well, students would prefer going out in the open, behind some tree, or even walking home in order to relieve themselves. Washing of hands would be a hurried affair, if at all, and therefore illnesses like gastrointestinal ailments were common among children resulting in absenteeism.


An intervention by WaterAid India and AB InBev, however, changed things. Keeping in mind that awareness is crucial in bringing about sustainable change, students and teachers of Mohini’s school were sensitised about the importance of hygiene, with a correlation between cleanliness and health underlined. That hygiene played an important role in raising the overall health of the school and can cap absenteeism, was also stressed. To this end, a WASH club was set up with students at the helm of affairs.

“I like being part of the WASH club,” Mohini said, “I help students, especially new students understand the importance of hygiene. I monitor students washing their hands.” Evidently, after the students took charge, the toilets are cleaner than before, used by all, and so are the school premises. Students are also more conscious about cleanliness and further spread the lessons learned at school among their family members at home. Like Mohini, who likes sharing whatever she learns at the club with her parents are her two younger siblings. “I am happy that I am able to teach and make a difference,” the young girl said at the end.