“My period hurts; but not talking about menstruation hurts more.”We live in a country of over 1.3 Billion people out of which 48% are women and we still won’t talk about one of the most natural processes faced by them. Periods. Ruhpreet is a 26-year old Patiala resident and a single mother who has gone through many hardships in life. Living thousands of miles away from her country, her 4-year old son was her only strength, even when she was being abused mentally and physically.
After going through a lot of trauma and stress she finally went through an ugly divorce and came back to India to start her life afresh.
This incident left a permanent impression over her mind, and she decided to help other women in some way or another. So, she started visiting nearby slums and started talking to deprived women where she came to know about all the taboos and myths faced by women in India, all the restrictions and bindings they are going through.
But what hit her most was that menstruation has been one of the major issues in day-to-day life of these woman and they aren’t even allowed to talk about it.
She came to know that 1 out of every 2 girl isn’t educated about periods before they attain puberty, and only 1 in 5 know about the science behind periods. Only 12% of menstruating girls in India use sanitary napkins. In fact, inadequate use of napkins amongst adolescent girls is one of the primary reasons for absenteeism at school. Girls from low-income families will often miss up to 50 school days a year.
So, she began with educating these women about periods and providing them free sanitary napkins. But after a while she realized that just distributing free napkins won’t help the situation, which led her to this initiative, where she’d be setting up Sanitary Napkin Plants across the slums of the district with the help of an NGO Har Hath Kalam India Association.
Through this initiative, she is working with all the slums across Patiala district where women who have never used any kind of napkin during their periods, would not only be using them but they’d be the one manufacturing and distributing them across the slums, villages and government schools across the district.
One way or another, periods take up women’s attention for up to 10 days a month, whether it’s bleeding, cramps or the mood swings. Yet nearly all advertising for sanitary products encourages us to hide this part of their lives – three thousand days for most women – by preventing leaks that might embarrass them and everyone else; by putting menstruation behind locked doors and safely enclosed in euphemism. So, we are trying to make all these places period-friendly, where it’s considered a taboo to even talk about it in open.
- With a contribution of just Rs. 500 you can help an underprivileged woman access:
- Supply for good quality, affordable and biodegradable sanitary napkins to more than 5 lakh women and girls in the region.
- Provide them employment, helping them build their self-identity.
- Earning for themselves as well their families.
- Make their surroundings period-friendly, help them feel free to talk about it.
- Breaking the myths they’ve grown up with by helping women in 850+ villages across district and helping them utilise those 5-7 days in some productive work.
- Monthly workshops in 300+ govt schools on health and well-being as well as building confidence and personal identity.
Machine Supplier: Red Cross Kutir Udyog, Vrindavan
Machine Cost: Rs. 8, 21, 280
Raw Material cost: Rs. 2, 41, 920
Biodegradable packaging: Rs. 1, 00, 000
Installation cost: Rs. 37, 000
Working capital: Rs. 1, 11, 000
Awareness and campaigning cost: Rs. 85, 000
Menstrual hygiene kit distribution cost: Rs. 60, 000
Training and development: Rs. 45, 000
It would hardly cost you a few cups of coffee but somewhere a woman would be getting a livelihood, a cleaner period and all of her self confidence she had been lacking of.
So, come forward to help Ruhpreet in this revolution for a cleaner, period friendly environment for underprivileged women.
Let’s help these women rise; make them feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. Because when you make a woman feel happy and confident only then you get a prosperous family and a happier nation.
We care for our women, our country. What about you?