For a country, where menstruation is still a taboo, talking about menstrual hygiene, is next to impossible. There are a lucky few who can afford to buy products like a sanitary napkin, tampons, and menstrual cups. While for the rest of the bleeding population, they use means like ragged clothes and sawdust to keep the blood from leaking. Although we can continue debating about how to break the taboo, there are people on the ground who are not only spreading awareness about the monthly instalment of pain and suffering but also providing them with the required means to maintain menstrual hygiene. On Menstrual Hygiene day, know about the NGOs working towards Menstrual Hygiene.
Working towards menstrual hygiene since 2015, Manya Mahila Foundation is based out of Mumbai. They are working to raise awareness among slum dwellers about menstruation and also providing jobs to women in these areas. These pads are sold at an affordable rate especially for women living in slums. As of now, they are working in 5 slums in Mumbai.
Set up by two college friends Pallavi Arya and Amandeep Gautam, Amari Foundation focuses on educating young girls about menstruation. They not only teach about menstrual hygiene but also try to break the taboo surrounding the topic. Working in the villages of Haryana, the foundation also provides menstrual kits to the girls. Each kit contains sanitary pads, undergarments as well as an educational booklet.
Also known as WOW, World of Women was established by Vandana Boggaram. They feel education is the most powerful tool to banish the taboo. WOW not only educates them with menstrual management solutions but also encourages them to celebrate it.
Although Goonj works for multiple causes, Not Just A Piece of Cloth is targeted to tackle the issue of menstrual hygiene. They are taking the Access, Awareness, and Affordability approach towards menstrual hygiene awareness. Goonj is also working towards making cloth pads available to women in rural areas as well as slums.
Information is one of the key factors when it comes to talking about menstrual management, and Dasra puts it forward in the form of a report titled Spot on. The report gives us disheartening statistics like 88% of menstruating women in India use homemade alternatives like old fabric, newspaper, etc, whereas 63 million adolescent girls live without toilet facilities. They also provide state-wise statistics to get a better understanding of the condition.
One of the NGOs working towards Menstrual Hygiene, Sharp has been conducting Menstrual Health & Hygiene Management sessions in schools since 2002. And as of now, they have imparted knowledge to over 2.5 million girls from across the country. They not only try to talk about maintaining proper health along with menstrual hygiene, but also banish the taboo by encouraging mothers to have open communication with daughters over the topic.
For a country where a large chunk of menstruating women doesn’t have access to sanitary pad, the talk about using eco-friendly products take a back seat. Aakar on the other hand has made it their mission to produce and distribute affordable, high-quality, fully compostable sanitary napkins to women in need. They are simultaneously trying to raise awareness and sensitize people about menstrual hygiene.