#Period Paath: The Stain – We Are Not Ashamed Of!!!

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!

Dear Sir/Madam

It is a moment of immense pleasure and proud as a WOMAN of this society to jot down the views regarding the basic biological phenomenon that we go through every month; THE STAIN- WE ARE NOT ASHAMED OF!!!

Menstrual cycle- the laying of first stone to adolescence is a normal physiological function that is the output of hormonal changes and marking of puberty. In 21st century, when the nation has achieved zenith’s height of success in every challenging sphere, there are still certain taboo & customs revolving menstruation (periods) that makes women suffer during those critical days. The result is poor health, gynecological disorders and sometimes fatal. A sense of shy, shame and fright also stand as obstacles among women especially in villages and slums to openly discuss and address the issues.

I take this letter as the voice of those ladies who are keen to breakthrough all the shackles and lead a healthy life. The concept may stand as:-

  • There is a need of conducting small scale campaigns with free health check ups & sanitary kits at every possible community that makes the ladies of all ages acquainted with the basic ways to maintain menstrual hygiene & wellness. Proper emphasis can be on use of sanitary napkins and disposal inorder to avoid any infectious disease. The same information can be transferred to other groups and a chain link may be formed that can be monitored by the nearby health centers.
  • The male figures of community also require proper education about the onset of menstrual cycle so that the dark thoughts regarding the same can be shattered and they are mentally supportive to their daughters & wives. A small step for the same can be rendered by government aided groups.
  • Proper sanitation facilities should be supported by the Government that juxtaposes the open space bath & toilet
  • There is an urge to increase the number of Primary Health centers that is easily accessible & feasible.
  • Subsidized sanitary kits may be distributed in remote localities and in families with BPL cards.

This letter is not to defame any cultural or religious practices attached to Menstrual cycle but the need of the hour is to shift our outlook and prioritize it comprehensively with the best possible facilities rather than refraining or zipping the voices. Some tiny measures from the decision makers may help to mould a better society where the women are no more victims & free enough to face the world. The divine breeze of freshness should blow and wipe away the filthy issues.

Looking forward for strict actions & monitoring !!!

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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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