In 2022, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation launched a year-long partnership with WaterAid, empowering women in the town of Budhni, India, to make sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) a reality.
Budhni is a small town with significant WASH needs. The persistence of water, sanitation and hygiene-related challenges has created an urgent need for change where there is a high-volume of apparel factory workers and their families. 

Over 15 months, the project directly reached 26,000 people and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene in homes, schools, healthcare centers and local communities with clean water systems, hygiene and menstrual hygiene education. This includes improved drinking water stations, water supply tanks, handwashing stations and sanitation facilities in five schools. 

This program builds on the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation’s goal to address critical community needs and empower vulnerable populations. It supports WaterAid’s mission to help people in the world’s most vulnerable communities transform their lives through access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. 

Activities include: 

  • Collaborating with institutions such as schools and local government organizations, resulting in significant community acceptance and participation
  • Establishing community-led water management committees
  • Constructing new toilet blocks in schools
  • Using key Global WASH awareness days as opportunities to teach proper handwashing and sanitation practices 
  • Rapport-building at the community level, working closely with identified community groups including adolescent girls and women workers in the textile industry 

The impact:

people in communities, schools and factories have benefitted from WASH interventions

Govt Girls School, Bayan, India
Image: WaterAid/Srishti Bhardwaj

people reached with hygiene behavior change messages

Govt High School, Ninore, India
Image: WaterAid/Srishti Bhardwaj

of households in the intervention area now have a water tap and toilet

Govt High School, Ninore, India
Image: WaterAid/Srishti Bhardwaj

Case Study: Transforming lives through WASH in schools

Image: WaterAid/Srishti Bhardwaj

Ninore's school, which shares a campus for primary, middle, high school and higher secondary, had a pressing concern with its water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. The lack of infrastructure led to poor access to basic amenities like toilets, drinking water and handwashing stations. This problem severely impacted the students' health and well-being, decreasing their turnout at school and increasing the risk of infections.

In response, WaterAid retrofitted the existing infrastructure and constructed new toilet blocks for boys and girls, set up a handwashing station and conducted regular sessions on hygiene and best WASH practices for both boys and girls. Menstrual hygiene management sessions were also held for girls.

These interventions have had a remarkable impact on the school. The 250 students are overjoyed at the change and have become more regular in attending their classes. They no longer have to worry about not having access to toilets or drinking water, allowing them to concentrate better on their studies. The student leadership groups are also taking an active interest in maintaining the infrastructure and making sure that the valuable lessons on hygiene are practiced by everyone in the school.

About The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation

The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation works to make the dream of a better life reality by championing equity and empowering underserved communities around the world. Established in 2001, the Foundation is committed to making a difference across its core areas of focus: supporting cancer care and prevention, protecting the environment, fostering advocacy & access, and strengthening community resilience. It hopes to deliver meaningful change in its communities through its nonprofit partnerships, investments and volunteering programs.