CHARCHA , an initiative to talk on Menstrual Hygiene
When any people speak a word ‘Periods’ or ‘menstruation’ infront of anyone they often receive a bizzare reaction. Talking about menstruation has often been a taboo subject and we overlook the fact that it’s a massive issues that is highly neglected by the people just because it’s considered to be stigma in our society and treated something to be hidden , something shameful.
Keeping these things in view, Glad Bharat Foundation in collective effort with Goonj, Inner wheel Sunrise Gaya and Action Aid took an initiatives to put the barriers that has been practicing from the long and to break those silence through “CHARCHA” that was held in Gaya at Bodhagaya,Tekari, Fatehpur, Dobhi and in Nawada at Afzal Nagar and Shekhawat Baag where the participants from 12 to 49 of age were present.
STORY 1 : BODHGAYA, GAYA, BIHAR
During the session one girl name Nilu Perween, age 13 said “My father is a fruit seller. I must’ve been 10 when I got my first period, and to be honest I didn’t know anything about it because none of my friends had gotten it and no one had really talked to me about it. It was a freaking situation for me as i was unawared and unprepared.
The other girl name , Sushmita Kumari age 18. Her father is a small shopkeeper. She said “I got my first period when i was 16 yrs old.I was facing some medical issues then. I already knew the processes involved and i knew how to fix a pad and so on.But my mother ask me to take cloth after few months as my family is not financial good and I faced a lot of problem while using cloth .It makes me feel uneasy and irritated”.
STORY 2 : Vill : KOTHWARA, Block-DOBHI, GAYA, BIHAR
The other programme held at village Kothwara in Dobhi, Gaya where all adults were present and discussed the importance and problem on menstruation and menstrual hygiene.
During the session the team spread the awareness about periods and how to take self care during those ongoing periods.
One women named USHA DEVI, age 36 said that her husband is a construction labour. She added ” I feel ashamed talking on this and also facing a lot of complications during periods.There is no any proper government hospitals for us who can look into our matter as we can’t afford the private hospital because of unemployed husband in the family”.
The other women named Kranti Devi’s husband is a labour. 30 years old Kranti said” my periods come after every 2 months and I also faces a lot of problem in getting medicines as you said to take vitamins and calcium.We can’t afford didi ,how can we take medicines and use sanitary pads”.
STORY 3 : TEKARI, GAYA, BIHAR
Soni devi’s husband is a labour. At her age of 35, she is a mother of 4 daughters. She said ” Being a mother for me it not easy to arrange the sanitary napkins every months for my 4 daughters as the financial income of my family is too low.All the family members are unemployed and it’s very difficult to manage the basic needs of living.One time you come and distribute the napkins but what about the rest 11 months how we will be cured from the infections and disease if there will not be a ground solution, sir” and requested the organization to address the issue of lack of supply of sanitary pads and medicines in their region and do something for eradicating the unemployment .
STORY 4: Vill: PHULGANJ, Block- FATEHPUR, GAYA, BIHAR
26 year old, Soni told us that she suffers from irregular periods and immense pain during her menstrual cycles followed with white discharge and lack of nutrition as a result she suffers from major cramps every now and then.Due to poor living condition she can’t even afford to go for a regular checkup.Her husband is a labour who earn a wage of Rs 50-60 on a daily basis.
23 year old Savita was concerned about her incapability to conceive even after having normal menstrual cycle and worried due to white discharge and irregular periods i.e., once in every 2 months and highlighted the issue of availability of pads and how she suffers from chaffed thighs and inflammation in the uterus and urethra due flawed used of cotton pads. She shared her sorrow in tears the problems that she faces everyday due to poor living condition and unemployment that is a root cause of all the issues.
STORY 5: AFZAL NAGAR, NAWADA
Munni Devi , a 35 years old, whose husband is a small farmer, narrated about the her period days as most painfull days. Due to unavailability of safe and clean cloths or sanitary pads, and lack of knowledge, she uses her tericotton dupatta as a cloth to hide her blood. This causes infection and swelling in her private part.
At the end of the session the team received a positive response as a number of adolescents and women came forward with their issues and discussed on it without any hesitation and requested to help them in every ways possible as they’re facing an insurmountable difficulties that’s hard to get rid off.
The day-long session offered a positive discussion on the challenges of menstrual hygiene to all the women especially the adolescent who are the future of tomorrow by making them understand the necessity and importance of discussing the issues and problem on menstruation and talked about the advantages of using sanitary napkin, what hygiene practices should be followed during periods and why is it necessary to dispose off sanitary napkins.
The mission and objectives of this program by Glad Bharat Foundation were to normalize periods and to talk about the health issues especially those related to personal health and hygiene, to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene and issues faced by women during menstruation, to break the taboo by openly discussing and spreading awareness about periods.
At the end of the session many girls expresses their problem that they can’t afford sanitary products instead using cloth and their parents struggling financially too. The team also guided on how to use cloth safely if one can’t afford sanitary and promised them to work on their issues with them.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.Making pads accessible to all as it is the basic need of every women. Manual and automatic boxes containing pads will be installed at government schools and women community centre. Also it will be available through our “Masik-dharm Swachta Mitra” so that every women living in urban slums and rural remote villages may have easy access to sanitary pads.
2.Developing kitchen garden to meet the nutritional requirement during the period days. Nutrition helps in maintaining health pre and pro period days.