“Menstruation is a small price you pay for being blessed with the grandest gift you can ever wish for, and that is, to have the privilege to give birth.” – Tshetrim Tharchen
But still, menstruation remains one of the most taboo topics in our country even today. Shunning the women who speak up about it, making them hide, and marking them as ‘impure’ are some of the injustices they face every month. The people of SK Children Foundation worked hard to organize a distribution drive to spread menstrual awareness amongst the people.
The Inspiration -‘PROJECT UDAAN’
To remove the social alienation that comes whenever menstruation is mentioned out loud, SKCF runs Project Udaan. Project Udaan focuses on making women and girls confident about their bodies. It also explains to them the importance of menstrual hygiene and sanitary products. The Pad Distribution Drive was inspired by it, to increase the project’s reach and remove fear about menstrual awareness.
Distribution Drive of Sanitary Pads
On Saturday, September 3, 2022, at Zilla Parishad High School in Mallapur, Hyderabad, the team of SKCF organized a Pad Distribution Drive. The on-ground volunteers distributed more than 100 sanitary napkins to the students of the school.
Spreading Menstrual Awareness
After the distribution, an awareness session was held. This was done to educate the girls on how to properly take care of their bodies while menstruating. The students actively took part in the session, eager to learn more about this biological process. The main concern was the lack of nutrition in their diets which led to small amounts of blood during menstruation. This, in turn, increased their cravings to eat slate pencils and raw rice, posing a great risk to their health. Since it is a topic not very openly discussed, the girls were enthusiastic with their questions regarding the same.
Lack of Menstrual Awareness
There is a severe lack of menstrual awareness in our country. Women in rural areas have to use dirty rags during cycles and have to hide in the corners of the house. They are thought to be impure. When females have proper access to safe and affordable sanitary products to manage their menstruation, they decrease their risk of infections. Poor menstrual hygiene can pose serious health risks, like reproductive and urinary tract infections which can cause infertility and birth complications in the future.
In recent times, there is a rise in the talk about menstrual hygiene, and the importance of educating people in remote areas about the importance of following sanitary steps during their periods. What needs to be understood is that menstrual cycles are a biological process and should be treated normally. There should be proper diet and nutrition for a healthy flow, and regular check-ups for the same.
Menstrual Awareness in Media
Improving menstrual hygiene and providing proper access to affordable sanitary products can help improve girls’ and women’s access to education. It can also help in opening more job opportunities, promotions, and entrepreneurship. Thus increasing female contributions to the overall economy, rather than keeping them at home.
With the popularization of sanitary products through various distribution drives and public initiatives, there has been a media portrayal of menstruation. Movies like PadMan (2018), as well as advertisements of popular brand names, have led to the comfort of using sanitary products amongst the urban population. But still, society needs a lot of changes and more empathy and awareness about menstrual hygiene and awareness.
-BY SAANVI KHATTAR