An open letter to
The honourable Shrimati Smriti Irani
Minister Of Woman and Child Development, Government Of India
24 January 2020
I am Ms. Aparajita Lohmor,studying in class 6-H of DPS Indirapuram School, Ghaziabad,UP,India.I along with my classmates attended a workshop on the topic of menstrual health conducted by my teachers.I was surprised and puzzled to learn that as we grow up we bleed every month and it’s natural!!
When I shared the information with my mother,I realised that I was blessed to be born in a family who could afford to help me in all aspects related to menstrual health when I will need them.But,it saddened me that girls born in poor families are deprived of basic-facilities required during this period,I overheard the maid working at my house and lives in a nearby village telling my mom that she could not come during her periods when she bleeds and her clothes get stained because she cannot afford for sanitary pads.Using old torn clothes as an absorbent is insufficient.Her daughter also skips schools during her periods because she feels fear and embarrassment that her school uniform might get stained.Often she develops fever during her periods due to infection in her reproductive tract because-of unhygienic practices during her periods.She is made to sleep in a separate shed adjoining her one room house making her prone to many risks.She even failed in class-7 due to her monthly absence from school leading to poor academic-performance.It surprised me that my friends who belong to well-to-do families do not attend social and religious functions as they are considered dirty and inauspicious during this time.I fail to understand how a natural body function bestowed upon us by god for procreation of future generations could be inauspicious and embarrassing.My friends don’t come out to play during this period due to myths and taboos fed into their mind.
All this stirs my conscience.It is a gross violation of a girls-rights. Respected Ma’am,I request you to implement programs which could spread awareness through mass media etc on this topic helping to bust myths and taboos ingrained in people’s minds.
Dear Ma’am,if possible,please include education on menstrual-heath-and-hygiene as a part of the school-curriculum so that girls understand the normal physiological-process and can easily differentiate it from dirt,inauspiciousness,and,mortification.It would also make them learn how to take care of themselves with hygienic practices during this period.
Ma’am,the government has already well formulated national policies of vaccinations and mid day meals for wide coverage of all children.Similarly I request you earnestly to make free sanitary pads available to all underprivileged girls to enable them to attend school regularly,perform better academically,and become healthy,empowered,educated and confident citizens capable of contributing towards the country’s development .If not free pads,I suggest that you could implement schemes for large scale production of cheap and tax free sanitary pads which could be accessible and affordable to every girl even in the remotest corner of the country.Another issue which needs to be dealt with is implementation of programs facilitating construction of toilets and availability of clean water and dustbins,in every school and homes so that even the underprivileged girls would have the convenience of changing pads,washing themselves,and disposing the used pads in privacy.Lets join hands to make menstrual hygiene a priority,an integral part of every girls life,yet shrouded under the wraps.Let us observe World Menstrual Hygiene day on 28 may 2020 on a national scale for spreading awareness.Rome was not built in a day,but your initiative and our sustained efforts will definitely make a positive impact in every girls life.Let the sky be the limits for every girl.