#PeriodPaath: An Open Letter To Chairman SDDM For Menstrual Health Drive In Schools & Colleges

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!


Pachu Ray


South Dum Dum Municipality,

Motijhil, Kolkata,

Subject: Request to start Menstrual Health Management Drive in educational institutions under the South Dum Dum Municipality.


I, Srimati Ghosal, daughter of Benu Gopal Ghosal, resident of 47, Krishnapur Road, Nager Bazar Dum Dum, Kolkata- 28, am a voter from ward no. 26 represented by Councillor Smt. Kasturi Chowdhuri. I write to you to request a Menstrual Health Management drive to make sanitary napkin vending machines available in girls’ and co-educational institutions under the South Dum Dum Municipality.

The South Dum Dum Municipality encompasses two girls schools and two women’s colleges and there are five co-educational higher education institutions, where adolescent girls aged 13 and above are educated on a daily basis and introducing sanitary napkins to these young girls could be a definitive step towards better menstrual health for them.

While I shall leave you to decide on the details of the drive, I suggest that this drive, besides installing the vending machines, also has a group of trained local women instructors to teach the girls how to use the machine and educate the schoolgirls, especially about menstrual hygiene. This could simultaneously generate employment and hygiene awareness among women and girls.

A similar initiative was undertaken by Nirman Foundation in Purulia and since they have already worked with the West Bengal State Government to provide every school with 1835 boxes of sanitary napkins and installed a vending machine and an incinerator and shall be clear with the logistics involved in the drive it is advisable to seek their expertise on the drive. The Foundation also has designated training materials like the comic book “Ritukalin Bandhobi- Dolon Di”, Teachers training kits and resource booklets.

As you already know, this is not an alien concept in the city. I, myself a student at Presidency University, was a part of the drive that installed sanitary napkin vending machines in the university. Other than that, institutes like Jadavpur University, St.Xaviers College, Loreto College all have the facility of hygienic sanitation for woman-students on periods. As a concerned voter in the municipality, I find it imperative that cheap healthy sanitation should not be limited only to premier institutions but available to all girls across West Bengal and let our Municipality set an example of the same. As for myself, I pledge to provide all the support that a common citizen is capable of towards a better Menstrual Hygiene of our girls.

Sincerely yours,

Srimati Ghosal

47, Krishnapur Road,


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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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