#PeriodPaath: Menstrual Hygiene 4

Editor’s Note: This post is an entry for the #Periodपाठ writing contest, a unique opportunity for you to write a letter and stand a chance of winning up to ₹30,000! The contest is organised by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC. Find out more here and submit your entry!

Hello, my name is Akshita Gupta. I am from Delhi Public School, Indirapuram.

Menstruation is a natural, normal biological process experienced by all adolescent girls and women, yet not spoken openly about to avoid unnecessary shame and embarrassment. India’s 113 million adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable at the onset of menarche. At this time, we all need a safe environment that offers protection and guidance to ensure basic health, well being and educational opportunity. At home, we are all helped by our moms for maintaining proper hygiene and a safe period cycle. In urban areas we are quite open-minded, and this process is no longer considered shameful but what about the girls and women of urban areas? They are not given proper health care facilities and are not allowed to enter temples, kitchens. And other illogical and wrong methods are practiced. This is where ‘Menstrual Hygiene  Management (MHM)’ should be encouraged for women and girls who are not given the basic sanitation material during their periods. When we talk about menstrual hygiene, this includes ensuring proper hygiene during menses and eating right is the key to ease the pain. To keep oneself hygienic we should practice some essential sanitation tips: –

  1. Changing sanitary napkins every 4-6 hours.
  2. Washing oneself properly.
  3. Disposing properly.
  4. Avoiding consumption of salty foods and caffeine.
  5. Wearing loose and dark colored lowers to prevent staining.

The motive of menstrual hygiene is to ensure that women and girls should manage their periods in a way that is not only healthy but that enables their full participation at school, work or any other activities. Through this let’s all pledge to break the silence around periods and learn to take care of our health, body and mind and be shameless about our body processes.

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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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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