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Among the Bheel community of Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh, soaps and sanitary napkins were unheard of some years ago. 40-year-old Durgabai from this community didn’t know that washing hands with ash and soil wasn’t very hygienic. When she became part of the Hand in Hand India Self Help Group, she was encouraged not just to become financially savvy, but also given a training in personal hygiene, menstrual health, nutrition, anaemia and more. It is the women of the family who change the way of life, so did Durgabai. With this education behind her, the family and then the community saw instances of stomach ailments decrease. Taking baths, cutting nails, using clean water, sanitary napkins during menstruation – all this has now become a way of life in Durgabai’s village. They also started the toilet revolution in their village by being one of the first to build one in their home!


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