(Note: This was written by a Donor, who we invited to a Distribution Drive in Mumbai, India)
Do you know the cost of sanitary pads in India? I guarantee you, not even a single guess in your mind is right. I searched it on the internet and was surprised to know it’s less than a pack of biscuits. The horror starts after the information, I reveal about the basic necessity of sanitary pads not being affordable to women.
Yes, it's true, Gasp, exclaim, gesture all you want. The truth remains. I know all the questions running around in your mind at this moment. What do these women use during periods? What about safe practices during periods? What about their health and the health of their children? I am as horrified as you are while reading this but my questions do not let me stop here, they are making me more eager to get answers.
I must point out that poverty exists and has grappled many lives. Today, women facing ‘period poverty’ take their own time to adjust to this term. I am also new to this concept and thinking in my own way to help. I made up my mind to contribute in some way. I found it difficult at first about the means to reach these women and help. I enquired and found out about a non-profit organization called Free Pads for India (FPI) started by 3 young and budding gentlemen Deepak Parmani, Ashitosh Gupta, and Vishal Mishra.
The names might sound ordinary but their work towards eradication of period poverty and removing taboo around the phenomenon ‘period’ is extraordinary. Free Pads for India (FPI) is a platform that creates awareness about ‘period shame’ and ‘period poverty’ by visiting slums and adopting menstruators through their free sanitary pads distribution drive. Affirmative! They distribute free pads to young girls and women who still lack the resources to buy sanitary pads.
I was hooked on this idea and impressed by their line of work. I gained confidence and trust developed in me about my contribution reaching the right helping hands. I contributed and the feeling was intense. I could also relate to the experience Ashitosh, Vishal, and Deepak explained to me about the joyous satisfaction we get after offering a small helping hand towards these young girls and women through FPI.
I just want you to think about ‘period poverty ‘experiences of these young girls and women next time you pass along these settlements. I want you to place them in your mind and relate with this feeling, they might be working in your homes, or walking on the road with health hazards due to unsafe practices they follow only because sanitary pads are a luxury. I really believe and trust that you are sympathetic towards helping in this cause.
I made my pact with Free Pads India (FPI) and it remains lifelong till they eradicate period poverty and shame. I hope you help them build this road part by part as they are headed towards a long journey. I shall remind you that your contribution plays a small part towards building a nation of period free shame, taboo, and poverty.