The goal of this project is to increase girls’ awareness about menstrual health and safe practices so that it can increase overall menstrual and reproductive health, reduce barriers that prevent girls from attending school, and increase their quality of life. The issues of women’s health and hygiene, sanitation, gender inequality and legal/civic rights are detrimental not only for women’s welfare but also for the development of our society. Women are our country’s strength and they are entitled to live a life of respect, dignity, good health and equality.
Studies reveal that only 12% of women in India have access to sanitary napkins, while the remaining 88% resort to unsafe alternatives due to the limitations of accessibility and affordability, and the lack of correct information. The materials used, which range from cloth to ashes and husk sand, pose several health risks- it has been found that Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) is 70% more common among these women.
Girls between Grade 6 and Grade 10 will be given ‘Hygiene packs’ including a set of Biodegradable sanitary pads, soap and three informational pamphlets with information about Helpline Numbers, Government schemes, and how to make your own pad. Additionally, information sessions will be held by trained volunteers to elaborate on menstruation, reproductive health and sexual and domestic abuse.
Under Project PANKH, several awareness camps and empowerment presentations will be delivered in govt schools, girls home and urban slums through field partners, volunteers. The presentations will touch upon topics of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual awareness, maternal and reproductive health, and good touch – bad touch. The women will also be made aware of resources to reach out for help and government schemes and provisions focused on women’s welfare and development.
At every awareness camp, Asmita kits will be distributed among women following the presentation.
Such a kit would include female hygiene products and a booklet consisting information on safe hygiene practices, helpline numbers, government schemes and self-help literature. Creation of self-help groups so that women can collectively work towards addressing the issues that endanger their welfare and take charge of their health and well-being. Each workshop will identify a local “leader” and will end with the “Asmita kit” as a gift, with easy self-help material and regular follow up routine.
Two sets of trained volunteers will visit one school/ girl home at a time and hold an interactive information session which would last for two hours.
In this time, an educational video about menstruation will be shown, concerning the biological explanation behind it, common dilemmas girls face, and healthy habits to practice during menstruation. The concept of consent will be brought up to explain sexual and domestic abuse, and how to seek help if required.
Following this, the ‘Hygiene Packs’ will be distributed, and volunteers will explain how the sanitary pads are to be used. The Hygiene Packs will contain biodegradable sanitary pads, soap and booklet consisting information on safe hygiene practices, helpline numbers, government schemes and self-help literature