#Period Paath: Bleed Healthy, Menstrual Hygiene

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My name is Priyanshi Kaira. I am from Indirapuram Public School, Indirapuram.

For years talking about menstruation is associated with shame and embarrassment. But today’s youth is more open about it, clearing out the superstitions and myth related to mensuration. Menstrual hygiene is vital to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls worldwide. There still are girls in rural areas who hardly use sanitary pads, they rely on the cloth which is actually unhygienic.

There are times when females often extend its use beyond the recommended time. This places the girl at increased risk of infections and has critical health implications. Even many girls in urban areas too, don’t know about menstruation and use of sanitary products when they menstruate first time. It’s very important to aware girls (as well as boys) about menstruation hygiene and encourage them to express themselves about their periods.

Giving them an informed choices about the different menstrual hygiene products – pads, tampons, menstrual cups is also very important. Tips regrading menstrual hygiene like changing pads every few hours, properly cleaning vaginal area, consulting a doctor when the periods and its flow is not regular. It’s necessary to educate and aware the males about it too because their support and openness is highly appreciated. Mensuration is not a taboo, it very normal for a healthy female.

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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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