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break the taboo and start the conversation!

Here are my few experiences i had regarding the spread of menstrual hygiene awareness.
Menstrual Hygiene day!
Next What? Day ended.
I would like to share few of my experiences with you.
#Everygirl’s story
12 yrs…… There was some change in her body…pain? she cant express it? May be she can? Then she thought, Ok let me talk to mumma about this.
Girl- Mumma Mumma she wishpered in her ears.
Mumma- What happened?
Girl- I am having severe pain in my stomach.
Mumma found that she was in her first periods.
Mumma told her don’t touch anyone. Go and sit aside. Little girl was unable to understand whats happening around her. But she did it as her mother told. She made her sit aside for the next seven days. No school,no fun. She cant even play with her own brother. Her pain? She have to bear it. Because u cant even touch your mumma ri8? Whoelse can takecare? Then she asked how long should I sit like this.. without touching anyone..without playing with my friends. Mumma said everytime!
She grew up!
She have to get her sanitary pads from outside.
Mumma told her wrap that in a newspaper and put it in a cover and make sure that no one is observing you. She did like the same.
Girl- Whats wrong with me? Y should I have it? Y should I suffer? N Then put it as a secret? I should sacrifice everything because of this? Is this my mistake?
Mumma – Every girl have to bear it.
Girl- Is it a punishment to girls?
Mumma- Society made it.
Girl- Why should we care of Society?
Mumma- We are a part of it!!!!!!!
Now I tell you, Not just because its menstrual hygiene day . But to tell you how common it is in every girl’s life. Its just as common as cold or cough. Its just a change in our body. I should tell you now, I am also a victim of this kind of attitude.
Its not that easy to digest!Its not that easy to leave your childhood!
I started thinking about this, I started knowing about why it is happening with only girls, I started knowing that its not any disease . Then I got to know about another fact. Hygiene. Ok What kind of hygiene I am talking about?? It’s a confusion between using pads or cloth? It’s a war between pads and cloth?
I always thought that my position was far better than what my mom’s generation faced. I thought my generation have got so many facilities. Now I can go out in my periods ,work, play whatever. Soon I realized its juzz me and the people around me are happy with those facilities.
I tell you how!
I found this problem mostly in rural areas. Nearly 70% of India”s population lives in Rural areas. The main issue was that awareness. Awareness of using sanitary napkins. You may tell me that almost all the people in the country are using telivisions and now there is internet facility also, there are ads going on in the television, there are posters on the walls, whats else do you need? If this is awareness then why people are still not using this?
I found few issues regarding this.
1. They know that there is something called sanitary pads but don’t really know their importance.
2. They don’t know what happens if they use cloth, they don’t know what side effects they get because of using cloth.
let me tell you one funny answer I got from my experience. I asked one women if there is something better you can use y don’t you go for it? She told me like this. Listen beta I have been using cloth from years. Not only me my mom her mom everyone used. We are all happy now. We didn’t face any issues. And moreover we cant trust in this technology also.
Huh! Little is known about the kind of diseses they spread.
Little is known about whether unhygienic MHM practices increase a woman’s exposure to urogenital infections, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and urinary tract infection (UTI). It also causes problems in the reproductive system.
3. The next problem which I found in my research is people cant afford these.
It was on March 8th when we had a rally conducted by our university in a near by village to provide awareness about women’s rights and then our contract’s ma’am said lets provide awareness about sanitary napkins also. We took those pads in our hands and starting moving around talking to every women about this. Then a girl started shouting at me saying that are you people mad? Put that in. Everyone is observing. Have some shame. And then she ran away. She is still ashamed of the process that is going in her from years and will be with her for many more years.
And then we went near an aunt who was working in a juice shop. We were talking to her about this. She asked me how much does it cost? I told her you can get for 30 rs only. She showed her son and told me my son can eat breakfast for two days with this money. I didnt give her any answer and left that place. That “only” word I spoke made me realise in which situation our nation is in. Can we do something for these people? There is a need to solve all these issues. If one is not solved other cannot be achieved. People get it for low cost but don’t have awareness about this, then there is no use of providing it for low cost. Do you think they are not the future our nation? Isn’t their sanitation not important to us? Now I tell you lets break the silence. Lets break the taboo. Lets not feel ashamed of talking about this to anyone.


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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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