Menstrual hygiene continues to be amongst the most challenging development issues today, not only due to deep rooted taboos, myths and missing information, but even today in rural India women and girls lack access to hygienic sanitary materials and basic facilities like sanitary pads necessary for good menstrual hygiene management.
Millions of women in the country still resort to shocking alternates like unsanitized cloths, ashes, husk sand during menstruation. These unhygienic practice directly affects the women and girl’s self-esteem, health and education.
Initiated by WASH United in 2014, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is coming up tomorrow i.e. 28th May, which endeavours to create awareness on the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management plays in helping the women and girls reach their full potential.
In Mumbai, one global change makers Dr Bharati Lavekar, a dynamic local MLA from Versova in the western suburbs has started a massive awareness campaign through her NGO ‘Tee Foundation’ on the initiative ‘Digital Sanitary Pad Bank’. Her campaign has attracted attention around the globe with support coming from all corners of the world to aid her in this project.
Bharati Lavekar shares, “Around 2 years back I started this initiative to break the social taboo surrounding the menstruation issue and also provide free sanitary napkins to the poor and needy women. Besides providing the required help we also work on empowering the girls and women on the knowledge which will break the age old myths and equip them to participate in bringing a change in the society mind set.”
She continued, “Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of a reproductive health. Out of ignorance, shame, stigma and poverty, large number of women use unhygienic practices increasing the risk of contracting diseases and infections. Every year this day aims to bring menstrual hygiene to the forefront of developments in the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene sector).”
Films like Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Pad Man’ and the recent Oscars conferred to the documentary ‘Period. End of Sentence’ received much accolades for acknowledging the taboo and have proven to be an eye opener to the issue.
Mumbai’s Dr Bharati Lavekar has been awarded with the ‘First Woman Achiever’s Award’ by the Honourable President of India. To this day, she continues with equal zeal to bring important government bureaucrats, NGOs, corporates, individuals from the private sector and the media together to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management.
A part of the government’s ongoing ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ – the 28th May 2019 will mark another day in this year dedicated to promoting and educating the masses on bringing a social reform for the women and girls at large.
A special event to commemorate this day is being hosted by Dr Bharati Lavekar in Mumbai which will see women from various walks of life from medical, film, tv, media, corporate and government bodies coming together for the cause of Menstrual Hygiene across the country and the globe.