TGB charity funds various development projects globally, including supporting children education and planting 1 million trees to conserve nature. The recent one is to focus on water and sanitation, trying to make more people have access to clean water. TGB Charity has realized the importance of contributing in the area of menstrual hygiene in a developing country like India where there are 344 million menstruating women, of which only 36 percent have an access to safe menstrual hygiene products.
TGB Charity in collaboration with Saath Charitable Trust and Unipads India are working together in educating underprivileged girls in Gujarat about MHM and providing them with menstrual hygiene kits to hygienically manage their periods for a year.
The initial plan was to interact with 12000 underprivileged school girls in a span of 1 month. However, before the program could be rolled out, the Covid pandemic struck and there was some delay in starting the sessions. Also, given the situation, it was not possible to interact with a big gathering in one location as initially planned.
The strategy and plan had to be revised. The audience had to be limited and this meant smaller batches and hence more working hours in achieving the final target of reaching out to 12000 school girls.
However, once we figured this out, we set out with a new vigor in achieving this with the ‘New Normal’ rules.
Field Staff from Unipads and Saath are trained on MHM and product features to conduct the sessions. The sessions are interactive where the field staff take the girls through Menstrual Hygiene Management in the local language. Gujarati is used as a medium of communication. An hour long interactive workshop covers a variety of topics related to menstruation. The trainers explain the biology behind menstruation, the dos and don’ts and the right practices to be followed for a happy and stress free period.
Since these school girls are from underprivileged backgrounds where menstruation is not openly discussed and even the women in their households are not as aware of hygienic menstruation practices, it is paramount that the trainers address the queries of every girl to help them gain confidence and eventually become comfortable with their periods. Unipads ensures that the field staff is trained well to handle every query in a manner that is easy to understand by these young girls. Also, the Indian society has harbored many myths related to menstruation. The team ensures that all these myths are busted and the girls are left with a clear understanding of their menstruation and how best to manage it.
A leaflet in Gujarati language with important information on menstruation hygiene management is distributed to everyone. The team then explains how the Unipads reusable cloth sanitary pad is meant to be used, its benefits, tenure of use etc. On behalf of TGB Charity, a packet of Unipads is donated to each one of them to manage their periods for a year.
These training sessions are conducted at three main locations: community halls/spaces of the slums, government schools in the vicinity or anganwadis.
The events conducted in Covid times
All these sessions have been planned keeping in mind Covid safety measures The initial plan of conducting the session with 500-800 girls had to be dropped and smaller groups of 50-100 girls was conducted keeping in mind the social distancing factor. It has been mandatory for everyone at the venue to wear a mask at all times. Hand sanitizers are installed and sanitization compulsory at entry points.
We, at Unipads and Saath are grateful to TGB for conducting such a thoughtful activity and helping us move closer to our mission of reaching out to as many underprivileged young girls and women as we can and educating them about MHM.