A BBC story quotes Shailja Mehta, who works on issues of adolescents at an NGO, Dasra. She said that “During our conversations with our partners in several states, we heard that only 15% of girls had access to sanitary napkins during the lockdown. With schools shut, the girls are getting pads only through the community health workers who are handing over whatever little supplies they have.”
India’s National Family Health Survey 2015-2016 that estimated that of the 336 million menstruating women in India, about 121 million (~36 percent) used sanitary napkins. The rest, unfortunately, have to use cloth, rags, husk, or anything that they can find to stop the flow. A 2014 report by the NGO Dasra titled Spot On! found that nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually due to a lack of proper menstrual hygiene management facilities.
In the hope that this story does not repeat, especially for thousands of rural girls in Maharashtra, the Kanyaka Foundation has started the Red Dot campaign.
How will your contribution support girls?
Access to education in rural Maharashtra is still an uphill battle for girls. The ASER 2018 report states that 17.3 percent of girls aged 15-17 are still out of school. Societal norms, lack of menstrual health support, and poor infrastructure forcefully stop girls from attaining school education.
Our intervention area, Beed, is considered as one of the backward districts in Maharashtra. Beed has accounted for the highest number of child marriages in the past – nearly up to 51 percent of the girls get married before they turn 18 (NFHS, 2018). Absence of quality education, mentorship and assisted career guidance refrains girls, parents, and the community-at-large to make informed choices, thus, directly leading to following the illegal route of child marriage.
Kanyaka Foundation is on a mission to empower young girls in rural Maharashtra by providing them access to improved menstrual, mental health facilities resulting in helping them continue their education and dreaming of having a career. Our planned initiative aims to holistically equip 1000 adolescent girls aged 13- 19 from five schools, and communities from the underdeveloped Beed district in Maharashtra. The mission will be realised through a simple three-step approach:
- Provide access to menstrual products, awareness, and guidance on personal hygiene
- Dedicated mentor support to build better communication skills, enhance critical thinking, and invoke more self-confidence.
- Create an ecosystem of support by engaging and partnering with local CBOs, ASHA workers, SHGs, groups, and NGOs to facilitate effective on-ground implementation.
Empower| Educate |Liberate