Rotary International, one of the largest volunteer-led, non-profit organizations committed to delivering impactful and lasting solutions to the most-pressing humanitarian challenges, is recognizing volunteers working on issues related to girls’ empowerment.
Srinidhi S.U. from Rotary Club of Bangalore Seshadripuram, Karnataka is one of the six global Rotary People of Action: Champions of Girls’ Empowerment who has been honored for his efforts to address women’s health concerns.
Around the world, 129 million girls are out of school and estimates show, due to the coronavirus pandemic, an additional 20 million girls may drop out . Barriers to girls’ education include poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence.
Rotary members are creating community-based solutions to provide immediate resources to girls worldwide to help them overcome those barriers including access to education, anti-abuse services, health care and menstrual hygiene.
In India, about 23 million girls drop out of school every year due to menstruation. At times, due to family pressure, lack of basic sanitation facilities in schools and even misinformation and prejudice. Addressing schools’ lack of basic WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) facilities is now a critical component of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in the country.
Since 2018, Srinidhi S. U. has devoted himself to the health needs of women and girls in his community. He served as the Project Chair for The Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) session project in 2018 and founded Project Sthree in 2019 as the Club President, a program based around women’s health, including hygiene, thyroid and breast cancer, and HPV, as well as focusing on providing leadership and safety skills for women. In an effort to break taboos, Srinidhi S. U. has spoken at the Red Dot Talks, which encourages men to discuss menstruation. The project has been providing leadership and safety training for women and girls and has been running both online and offline since the pandemic. This initiative also focuses on popularizing the use of sustainable menstruation products like menstrual cup and reusable pads that are economical and eco-friendly.
“The main objective of Project Sthree is bringing a change in the mindsets by creating awareness and collectively rallying for safer environments for girls. We must continue to break this unspoken barrier and motivate everyone to talk about something as normal as periods, so that girls/women aren’t disqualified from being given equal opportunities. To date, our initiative has positively impacted the lives of 5000+ girls living across urban and semi-urban areas. We also plan to cover rural areas once the pandemic mitigates,” he said, crediting the success of the programme to his entire team.
“Our honorees have taken extraordinary steps to improve the status of girls,” said Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta. “An investment in girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future. This is more than just a one-year commitment from our organization, it is ingrained in our values and central to our ongoing mission of Service Above Self.”
Rotary members develop and implement sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, grow local economies and protect the environment. Over $5.3 billion has been awarded through The Rotary Foundation to support these programs worldwide.