Breaking the Silence on Menstrual Hygiene Day
The first ever Global Menstrual Hygiene Day (http://menstrualhygieneday.org/) was celebrated on the 28th of May (the numbers 28 and 5 having significance as an average menstrual cycle is every 28 days with 5 days of menstruation).
To help ‘break the silence’, ProjectKHEL called for 28 volunteers to train them to become Menstrual Educators, so that these volunteers could reach out to at least another 500 young girls and women over a 5 day period and talk about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Although we received an amazing response for this post on Facebook, only 24 volunteers could make it to the orientation. There were many who were genuinely interested but could not attend because of their University exams or were out of the city for summer vacations, they have requested us for another orientation, so they could be involved beyond MH Day!!
As planned, most of our volunteers were able to conduct their sessions between the 24th and the 28th of May, 2014, reaching out to 324 girls! The volunteers, who ranged from teachers, to school and university students, girls from villages as far as 30kms away, doctors and housewives shared their photographs (posted here), and also their experiences. Every experience shared seemed to be an awesome story in itself.
Here, we would like to mention a few ladies who added their own extra something to the programme:
- Ms. Rehana Ali, a senior teacher, carried 2 cotton sarees with her and taught her audience of 20 to stitch their own pads!
- Ms. Anjana Ambili, also a teacher, conducted 2 sessions, one with a set of underprivileged girls and one with the domestic workers in her neighbourhood. Technically, we needed our volunteers to conduct minimum one session in the 5 mentioned days, but she went ahead and did two!
- Ms. Aena Asif and Ms. Adya Singh, class 9 students, were the two youngest volunteers for the campaign. They found it difficult to get all the girls together, so they did a number of one-on-one sessions with underprivileged girls as and when they found them!
- Ms. Aditi Ghildyal, a university student, got to know of the campaign a bit late. So we trained her personally on the 24th and the next day she was to attend an engagement function of a relative, where she began talking about MHM to as many female relatives as possible! On the 26th she was out on the streets of Vikas Nagar looking for underprivileged girls and women to educate them about MHM. Upset about talking to only 10 of them, on the 28th, she visited a slum closeby and managed to talk to as many as 35 young girls and women about MHM!
- Ms. Rasna Singh, a resident of Behrora, Itaunja, conducted the MHM session with the women in her village. She showed them a video on menstruation in her phone. The audience got so interested that they motivated another 21 to attend the session again.
- A special mention for Ms. Sapna Singh, who wasn’t there for any of our training programme, but was so passionate about the cause that she motivated girls from her village to attend the orientation and even assisted them to conduct their sessions. Ms. Sapna led the session with the 21 women that was conducted in Behrora. She even managed a couple of videos to show to her audience and also made them do an activity in which they had to draw or write about their experience when they menstruated for the first time.
Although we have mentioned only a few names, we are thankful and appreciate the participation of each and every volunteer. The fact that all of them came forward to talk about something as “shameful” as Menstruation, is commendable in itself.
Apart from this indirect outreach, ProjectKHEL itself was able to reach out to 160 girls and women as part of this campaign. Our Project Manager, Angana Prasad, conducted 7 sessions on the 28th of May starting at 6.30am and reaching out to 75 school girls, 27 inmates of a government Remand home and a group of 25 ladies belonging to a club by nightfall! She also conducted a session with 33 girls and women at a vocational training center after the 28th taking the total outreach number to 484, just 16 short of our target of 500! However, with the interest generated by this campaign and volunteers still coming forward, this is just the first step in our efforts to break the silence surrounding menstruation!
Do visit our albums on facebook page to see photos of our Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign and also earlier MHM sessions with our beneficiaries, and outreach sessions at Salon, Amethi and Ramduari Village, Mehmoodabad.
– Team KHEL