#PeriodPaath: Menstrual Hygiene Awareness

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!

My name is Himanshi Chilkoti and I am from Indirapuram Public School.

Menstruation, or period, is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle once she turns 13.Menstruation is very normal and is nothing to be stressed about but the Indian society makes a big deal out of it.they dont allow girls to even talk about periods freely as if it is a curse on them and that is the reason why many girls dont even have basic knowledge on periods and they freak out or even faint on there first period and they dont have much knowledge about menstrual hygiene and its management, Menstrual Hygiene Management is the access to basic necessities during a menstrual cycle that can absorb the blood secreting from our body.

Many girls in the rural areas or of a poor family use cloth instead of a sanitary napkin during there periods.They either dont have enough money to buy them or dont even know what a sanitary napkin is.Using a cloth is not at all safe.It contains various bacterias and can cause infections in the vaginal region.Using a sanitary pad is very important and it is also important to change it within every 5 to 6 hours.

Females also use tampons when they dont feel like using pads. Tapons are comfortable when you go for a swim or a long party nut they are still not the best product to use.Tampons increase menstrual cramps , they may increase menstrual flow and they also increase the risk of vaginal infections.That is why they have to be changed within every four hours.

Both sanitary napkins and tampons are not environmental friendly, they dont degrade easily.

That is why now a days menstrual cups are used by females.they are made up of silicon and are environment friendly and reusable.the only problem is that many females are not aware that these exist and some who do know are somewhat scared of using it as they dont understand the method of its usage.Menstrual cups are the safest and the best product for periods and should be promoted through advertisements , in schools , colleges , awareness camps and in rural areas too.

These were the 3 basic Menstrual Hygiene products that every female should know about.

Menstruation is not something to be ashamed of , it is a very beautiful aspect of female body where we release negativity from our bodies in the form of blood every month.

Menstruation is a topic that should be discussed in educational sectors and even males should know about it. The schools should always have sanitary pads available in schools.

Every girl should be proud of themselves and accept periods happily and should accept the fact that it doesnt matter that theres a blood stain in there skirt a or if a boy makes fun of it .Just let it not hurt you and your precious heart.

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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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