Teens help bring hygiene to the poor in India

Menstrual hygiene is linked often to cervical cancer, especially in India. Realizing this and with the noble idea to help their peers in India, Indian American teens, Malika Rawal, 15, and Simran Bhargava, 14, have formed an organization that promises to bring hygiene to less-fortunate communities in the U.S., India, and around the world.

The teens from South Charlotte, N.C., started the nonprofit HelpHygiene to increase sanitation in impoverished communities in an effort to decrease the transmission of noxious diseases. The organization promises to achieve their goals by educating people and by raising funds to purchase sanitizers, toiletries, bedding and shoes.

Rawal, a high school sophomore, and Bhargava, a freshman, founded the HelpHygiene Foundation because they wanted to make a change in their community and the world, according to their website.

Over the past half year or so, the teens have reeled in 1,200 toiletry items, as well as 700 pairs of shoes. Those donations have been sent to Crisis Assistance, a Child’s Place and The Relatives, according to a Charlotte Observer report. Additionally, the girls have collected $6,000 to fund their work, the report added.

Later in the year, during a holiday recess from school, Rawal and Bhargava have plans to head to India to deliver supplies and visit rural preschools to stress the importance of hygiene to the teachers and young students, according to the report. Rawal said a previous trip to India opened her eyes, saying she saw kids walking around in dirt with solely undergarments on and no shoes, the report said. Bhargava had a similar such experience and it resulted in her wanting to help provide hygiene necessities and information.

“Their families could not afford water, and what little water they had was only for drinking, they were not able to wash their hands or brush their teeth,” she said in the report. Hygiene is essential here in the U.S., too, the girls stressed in the report, citing the homeless who need help with hygiene as their top priority is on food, water and shelter.

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