Menstruation and menstrual hygiene has always been a silent topic in many parts of the world. This topic has been often considered as a taboo. Many people feel uncomfortable while discussing these topics and to a surprise most of them are females. Women spend about 6 to 7 years of their lives menstruating, as compared to this statistic the level of education about menstrual hygiene is very low. Project Pavitra sensitises girls on the issue of menstrual hygiene through Health, Hygiene and The Art of Living Happiness Program for adolescent girls.
One of the dynamic Pavitra Star is Mrs. Neera Chopra. She has reached over 2500 girls within a short span of two weeks with great spirit and enthusiasm. She shared that while conducting the programmes, the girls in the workshop used to feel embarrassed as well as ashamed to talk about menstruation. It was after Neeraji told that even she gets menstruated and it’s completely normal for a healthy body to menstruate once a month, the girls felt comfortable and normal. For her the ice breaking was quiet easy as she herself becomes a kid with the younger ones in the workshop. According to her this helps the younger girls to gel up with her and to share their problems with more intensity.
“ Women spend around 6 to 7 years of their lives menstruating. ”
While conducting such workshops she came across a girl, Neerja who thought of menstruation as cancer. At the age of 12 she got her periods, she hesitated to share it with her mother for two days. On sharing it with her mother she got a long list of rules to follow, such as – carrying a dupatta, wearing salwar kameez, not to talk to boys, not to wear frocks, not to play much, to name a few. These restrictions made her feel that menstruation is rather a punishment given to her by the god anti was better if she was a boy. Only after the intervention of Neera Chopra she realised that menstruation is a natural process and is an eternal part of a woman’s body which helps in keeping the human body healthy.
Neera Chopra further shares that the workshop should not only be conducted with girls but also with their mothers. The mother is the first person to whom a girl speaks with. She is the one who sows the seed of knowledge and understanding in her daughters. If the are ignorant of the topic then they might end up in giving misleading guidelines just as Neerja’s mother. Thus it is important that the mothers are well aware of menstruation, hygiene and sanitation. It includes awareness about sanitary pads, their disposal, type of food to eat during these days and so on. Mother is the first school at any house, thus the women should be made educated about menstruation so that they further educate their daughters about it.
Neera Chopra truly sticks to the saying that, “ A well educated woman not only educates but also empowers the entire house.” Her contribution has changed many mindsets of the adolescent girls and women. The number of girls using sanitary pads instead of cloth have increased with good numbers. She is an ultimate inspiration who works with complete zeal and passion for the project. Such enthusiasm if shown by each one of us will definitely lead in changing the current scenario.
– Aditi Nalawade