A group of women from Bihar, Nawada district moved an extra mile to set up a sanitary pads bank by collecting 1 Re from each girl daily. The girls were inspired by “Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon”, a trans-media edutainment initiative, to bring a change in the society.
Only 12% of menstruators in India have exposure to proper period products, according to the findings of the Indian Ministry of health. The rest 88%, however, are dependent on unsafe materials like cloth, rags, hay, sand and ash as their only alternatives.
More than 40% of girls in India resort to missing school while menstruating as a consequence of social stigmas.
The initiative taken by these girls is to help themselves and those who may not have access to sanitary pads and hence depend on unhygienic alternatives. At some point in their lives, these women realised that their individual menstrual needs are often not fulfilled due to the lack of money, which led them to take this initiative. It’s not just 1 Re that got appreciation and praises but the courage of these girls, for stepping forward and claiming their ‘menstrual need’ and helping themselves and many other menstruators.
Anu Kumari from Amawa village says, “To help someone who doesn’t have money, we deposit one rupee every day. That means each girl raises Rs 30 in a month. We buy the sanitary pads and distribute it among poor girls, who cannot afford to buy them.”
Not only sanitary pad banks but these girls are way ahead, conducting dialogues on critical taboos like menstrual hygiene, contraceptive options, (copper-T, condoms) etc. One of the youth leaders said that now they are also talking about family planning. They visit villages and organise dialogues to discuss important topics that are so far considered as social stigmas.
Not only women are stepping forward to support this initiative but a behavioural change among men can be seen as well. “I feel our society has changed. Now, there is no difference among girls and boys” said Bhola Rajvanshi, Ex-Mukhiya from Hardiya.
These women have set up an example for the rest of the world that your sanitary pads are not meant to be hidden somewhere in that dusty corner of your shelves or behind your shawls on your way to the toilet. You must be proud of you being a woman and accept the physical need which is biologically gifted for you to celebrate”women-hood”.
TSA salutes such ladies for coming forward in a place like Bihar where taboos and Stereotypes backed by illogical myths have existed since ages. We urge our readers to edge starts like this and be a society changer if you are educated enough.