#Periodपाठ: माहवारी मेरा अधिकार

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!

To,

District Collector

Udaipur Rajasthan

Subject: Regarding running the campaign of Maahvaari “Mera Adhikar” throughout the district to manage end to end menstrual hygiene in sustainable manner.

Dear Mam,

Since October 2017, A team of ten young girls who are still studying in class Xth of Government School Sallara, situated in Semari block, running a campaign for awareness of menstrual hygiene. They are not limited to only awareness but created a mechanism for end to end menstrual hygiene management in sustainable manner.They have researched a lot and finally come up with the sanitary napkin made out of banana fiber and cotton cloth. These girls are striving for betterment of community menstrual hygiene practice through door to door campaigning.

They (students) found that women of their community never talk about this issue and usually ignored them in period also community practices ignorance of girls in period.They decided to break these taboo and loud out open. They somehow organize a gathering of villagers with the help of a community leader and teachers and discuss about the hygienic practices and menstruation as natural phenomena. They faced lot of struggle and opposes while running this campaign but the journey never stopped.

This is an absolute tribal community and nearly 2 million women are menstruating in tribal region of Udaipur district including slums of Udaipur city. These women are using dirty clothes, rags, sand and soil to absorb bleeding. These students applying community-centric design thinking and make affordable and reusable sanitary napkin with banana ibre as absorbent and can be use after 12 washing. in this way a women can manage her menstrual hygiene in only 50 Indian rupee for one year cycle. Women can also stitch the pad by their own. These girls are selling this pad and use that funds to reinvest in making pads and campaign design for other villages.

I request you to run this campaign throughout the Udaipur district and make our district best in menstrual hygiene index with sustainable manner.

We are providing some link of the stories and documentaries made by some organization upon this initiative.

https://www.facebook.com/vidhyalayudhyam/videos/670920850013002/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKwi4DF3KDA&t=75s

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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
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