#PeriodPaath: Menstrual Hygiene

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I am ishita tiwari from DPS Indirapuram WHAT IS A SANITARY NAPKIN?

You are first introduced to the concept of “periods” during puberty. This is the age when you (like almost every other girl) are likely to start menstruating, and a basic understanding about the what’s and how’s of periods can certainly come in handy at this juncture. Perhaps this is also the first time you’ll hear the words “sanitary pads” or “sanitary napkins” that you will need on a monthly basis to manage periods. During this time, an obvious question is – what is a sanitary pad?

It’s a strange term, but a “sanitary napkin” or “sanitary pad” just means an absorbent pad that you wear on your panties during your period in order to absorb menstrual blood. Made out of cotton to avoid rashes and skin irritation, sanitary napkins (or pads) come in a number of varieties and sizes. Depending on your menstrual flow and preference, you need to choose a sanitary napkin of appropriate thickness, length and absorbency. Don’t worry, after the first few times of trying to understand your body’s response to periods, you will eventually settle on the right ‘type of sanitary pad’ However, another question that pops up at this point is – how to use sanitary napkins?

HOW TO USE SANITARY NAPKIN?

Using a sanitary napkin is pretty easy. Here are a few basic steps on how to wear a sanitary napkin:

Remove the paper on the back side of the pad and place it on your panty

Remove the paper from wings. Wrap the wings around both sides of the panty and press firmly

Remember, it’s equally important to know how to dispose after use.

WHEN TO CHANGE SANITARY PADS?

Now that the part on how to use napkin during periods is clear, here is a word of caution! For your comfort and to avoid odour, one thing you need to do is change your pad every few hours. This is very important considering that the blood, vaginal mucus and other impurities that your body is throwing out should not be in contact with your skin for too long! Hence, changing your pad every 4-5 hours is considered ideal.

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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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