The Second Angle
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Here’s How Two Bengaluru-Based-Girls are Pushing The Menstrual Hygiene Cause

Everybody talked about food, clothing, and shelter but no one spoke of menstrual hygiene this pandemic: Tia and Niketa.

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Amidst pandemic when a lot of things have been un-easy for many deprived sections, each help has counted. Little things that we do make a difference. We have seen so many people working to make this pandemic a little less harsh on the unprivileged souls but every hand that contributed or took an initiative has only thought about food and shelter this pandemic. This undoubtedly is most important but, some things even count too, exist, and are left compromised by poor women and one of those is menstrual hygiene.

Looking at the scenario, this initiative by these two young class 10 school going, Bengaluru based girls to better the crisis, a little, has laid inspirations for many youngsters and is, of course, worth praising their efforts.

Nikita and Tia edged a move under a name “Aurat Arogya” where they distributed free sanitary napkins and other essentials important for menstrual hygiene to the migrants and poor women when they learnt that amid lockdown, there are many in numbers, left deprived even of minor necessities and dealing with periods along with the pandemic is a plight. They have completely dedicated this drive to women.

There is no denying a fact that in India where survival is at stake, the poor woman wouldn’t at first think of something called menstrual hygiene. And even if they think are left unspoken by many because of the expenditure it involves and now is a time when feeding your empty stomach is more important than anything else. This was best depicted in 2018 starring Akshay Kumar’s: Padman that made us a question about the absurd “do’s” and “don’ts” around a natural process in a woman’s body. A struggle of a common man to break the stereotypical norms of societies. But, one thing that we all saw was the lack of awareness India still dealing with most, the deprived sections of society. 

How did it all start

Like every other teenager, Tia Poovayya and Niketa Khanna knew that period is something that is still an issue in India, with the conventional society and is anyway an undiscussed topic in most houses. A taboo to even have a trivial talk on it.

They never planned this nor was they intending to start something until one day their domestic help asked them for a sanitary napkin and told them how difficult is to manage something which is treated as a shame and disrespectful topic in front of the males, even today especially when you are poor and dependent on them. This made the two realize how horrid must have been a situation for all the females who are locked with their male counterparts in those seven days, hushed and penniless to buy something so minor yet salient this pandemic.

Niketa and Tia distributing menstrual hygiene packages to the poor females in Bengaluru. (The News Minute)

This incident made the duo start an initiative where they made sure that basic sanitary products and other essentials are made accessible, especially to migrant women.

They approached the local police station of Bengaluru and urged them to work with them. Together they approached many families stuck and deprived, all women. For fundraising, they used the crowdfunding method, WhatsApp, Facebook, and other digital platforms to convey people to come forward willingly and help them by donating generously. With an initial start of Rs 1 lakh, they bought everything which according to them is important for females and were successfully able to donate 1000 kits amongst the migrant females. They packed the relief kits taking care of the periodic sanitizations of everything and made sure that with these relief packages consisting of things mainly for menstrual hygiene reach the awareness too. They went and educated the poor women of their localities about these issues and how important is it to speak of these in open.

In a conversation with The Logical Indian, they spoke of the hurdles that came their way but with the love and support of their families and friends, everything was made possible. They mentioned about the help that all NGOs have been doing since the start but very few or say none think about the issue of sanitary essentials that even the poor require. Where these strive hard to arrange three meals a day menstrual health taken a back seat.

Niketa and Tia, along with the hygiene kits which they’ve prepared. (Picture courtesy: The Logical Indian)

“We need to realize that if we come from a position of privilege, it’s our moral responsibility to contribute to those who have been hardest hit and help them in whatever little ways we can.” Said, Tia Poovayya in a conversation with The Logical Indian.

“Periods are natural and every female on this earth experiences. It is important to talk about this in open.” Said, Niketa Khanna.

Both teenagers are determined to start their drive once again after the board exams are over as the Covid-19 crisis has not at all improved for the poor where they are dwindling between the choices of to sustain the everyday waves until the situation improves. They even mentioned the wonderful responses that came to them from the people which they never really expected. Both of them have deeply thanked the Bengaluru police for the help done by them to avail the pass and people who supported their drive.

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