To celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day, NGOs in the city are hosting a range of events to spark awareness and around this bodily function.
Periods have always been a taboo topic in society. Very often, instead of educating a girl about periods, she is burdened with myths and misconceptions surrounding menstruation. Not much information is given about menstrual hygiene nor is she explained the purpose and function of periods. Not anymore, for, to celebrate World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which happens on May 28 every year, city-based NGOs are hosting events that provide a platform for women and men to come forward and speak about periods openly.
One such project is the Red Is The New Green project headed by Deane De Menezes. Under this project, Deane and her team will provide sanitary pads and pad-vending machines to small communities. Talking about the objective behind her project, Deane says, “We aim to reduce economic inequality attached to menstruation through sustainable solutions. That’s why we conduct menstrual hygiene awareness sessions and also help create access to affordable menstrual hygiene products and safe disposal options across age, gender and class to ensure that nobody is denied of any opportunities because of menstruation.”
Mukkamaar is another organisation trying to spark conversations around menstruation. The organisation will host an event that will encourage mothers living in slums in Versova to talk about menstruation with their daughters. “Women might not feel comfortable talking about periods in the presence of men. We want to create an ambiance where mother’s can have open conversations with their daughters,” says Ishita Sharma, co-founder of Mukkamaar.
Revealing more information about the event, she says, “Our session will focus on three different aspects of menstruation: the biological aspect, misconceptions and taboos and menstrual hygiene. There will be a presentation on these topics.”
Both Ishita and Deane feel that because of the taboos associated with menstruation, girls are denied many opportunities. “They are given a do’s and don’ts list with no explanation. We want to explain away every wrong notion participants have about periods and create a generation that is more aware and comfortable talking about periods,” says Deane.
Ishita hopes a question and answer session will help eliminate misconceptions. “We intend to have a Q&A session so that girls can get sound answers. Girls are often denied access to public toilets because of myths. These are the kind of issues we want to tackle,” says Ishita.
On the other hand, Umang Foundation Trust is hosting a poetry event to stimulate conversations around menstruation. “The event aims to reach out to 6,000 women living below poverty line in our community. The spoken word pieces will highlight issues relating to women’s health and sanitation, breaking taboos and encouraging open talks among women in the work environment,” says Anil Thomas, a volunteer from Umang. “Entertainment connects everyone so we chose poetry as the medium to get all our donors to contribute to the cause,” smiles Anil.