Break rooms for girls with beds, refreshments at schools in this Kerala constituency

The rest rooms have been set up in a constituency in Thiruvananthapuram as part of Project Oppam, initiated by MLA IB Satheesh.
Break rooms for girls with beds, refreshments at schools in this Kerala constituency
Break rooms for girls with beds, refreshments at schools in this Kerala constituency
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Bhama, Arya Nanda and Nandana, students of Krishnapuram Secondary School in Valiyarathala, Thiruvanananthapuram, all seem excited. The girls are elated about a new room in their school – designated as a ‘restroom’ for girls. It is complete with two beds, chairs, a wheelchair, a sanitary napkin vending machine, an air cooler, a water purifier and a small refreshment section. The room has provided relief to girl students who can use it when they feel sick or unwell.

Apart from KPM High School, such rooms have been set up in 12 schools in the Kattakada constituency under the Project Oppam -- a comprehensive project aimed towards women’s empowerment that was launched in the constituency in March this year on International Women’s Day. The project was envisaged under the leadership of IB Sathessh, the legislator of the constituency, and the rooms have been set up using the Asset Development Fund of the MLA.

The first rest room under the project was inaugurated in October at the Maranallur Government Higher Secondary School. The rest rooms at the other schools opened at regular intervals after that.

“Having a rest room means we can have privacy when we are not well. When we take rest in the classrooms, we are conscious of the teachers,” says Bhama, a class 10 student.

Headmistress Anitha Nair, and Beena Soman, a teacher, say that has been helpful because otherwise, they would have to send back girl students back home if they felt too unwell during school hours. 

Meenakshi, a class 10 student of the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Malayinkeezh, says the rest room comes as a relief as she gets frequent migraines. “Taking rest in the classrooms doesn’t help because of the noise there,” she says.

Rest Room at GGHSS Malayinkeezh

Leena CH, a teacher Malayinkeezh government school, where such a room has been set up as well, agrees. She adds that this is helpful because many of the students’ parents are at work.

“Earlier, when the girls were on their period, and other times they felt unwell, they had to lie down on benches in the classroom which was not comfortable,” says Leena.

CG Saritha, another teacher at the Malayinkeezh government school, says that telling a sick student to lie down on the bench was inconvenient because the other students would have to adjust and sit elsewhere. “Since the rest rooms have mattresses and pillows, it would make the students feel well,” she says.  

RS Roy, Principal of St Xaviers School in Peyad, says that the rest room in the school has seen plenty of use already and is appreciated by students. “Taking rest in the classroom would make girl students uncomfortable as there are male students in class as well. Now girl students inform teachers when they feel unwell and go to the rest room,” he says. 

Counselling centres have also been set up for students as a part of the Oppam project along with a round the clock helpline number.

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