I started off on this journey of mine in 2018, when I joined “The Period Fellowship” with Sukhibhava Foundation Bangalore. One year into the menstrual space, I built an understanding of the development sector and gained one step further aligned to my purpose. I realized that Menstruation was just one topic that would create a space for brave conversations and vulnerability. Since then there has been no turning back. Today I am doing the same work, here in my hometown, Kalimpong.
Many women and girls I have interacted with, including mothers who have given birth are not aware that there are three holes in the area between our legs. The fact that women (majorly) are not aware of their own body to this extent is something that speaks of how we are taught to not know our body without shame or stigma being attached to it.
Pre- Covid we used to conduct sessions in schools and communities with adolescents and adult Menstruators. As the pandemic hit us all early March, we had to halt all on ground operations. However, advocacy cannot and should not stop. That is when Hello Saheli - an online platform for access to information on menstrual health and hygiene management and free consultation with a gynaecologist, was launched. Hello Saheli is a tele helpline that brings Health Care at the doorstep of the marginalized and vulnerable communities at no monetary cost as Covid has mainly affected the daily wage workers.
A regular visit to a gynaecologist would cost Rs.500 - Rs. 600 and expecting this fee during the times of the pandemic crisis’ would definitely sound inhumane. The Hello Saheli program helps build a team of community champions who will reach out to menstruators in their respective communities.
Here is the equation:
A) 1 Hello Saheli Community Champion will reach out to 100-200 menstruators.
B) 1 beneficiary will spread the message to 3 beneficiaries.
You can choose to:
A) Support the health of one Menstruator by contributing Rs. 500
B) Support the efforts of one Community Champion by contributing Rs. 1000
The contribution is not necessarily limited to these amounts mentioned above. You can choose to share a part of the whole, because every single form of support matters a lot!
We need a sum of Rs. 2,00,000 (2 lakhs) to carry out these interventions efficiently and be able to support the efforts of these Community Champions and the health of menstruators (beneficiaries) from the rural spaces and urban slums of Kalimpong and Darjeeling.
I am collaborating with a few local organizations so that this becomes a collaborative effort and not centralized. In the times of the pandemic, when financial funding has been re-routed towards relief efforts, it becomes difficult for startup organisations like ours to function or even reach out to CSR donors. However, the belief, passion and motivation to bring in a sustainable change will not stop us from working towards the vision. And I am now reaching out to you, for your support, because I believe that every drop of water makes the mighty ocean. And I trust that you will support the purpose.