Let’s Open Positive Discussions On Unaddressed Issues
Grandma Did It.
Maa did it.
Sister does it.
What about you?
This made us think about lakhs of young school girls from far off Rural India. Girls having menstruation for the first time and there’s only one option with them- A CLOTH PIECE.
Welcome to today’s blog where we’ll open up on how we carved an offbeat strategy to spark positive discussions among young girls.
And here we take this moment to extend special thanks to all the volunteers who joined us in this initiative undertaken by TGB Charity and Unipads, for- “Distributing FREE Reusable Sanitary Pads to 12,000 School Girls from the Rural Areas of Gujarat”.
Now let’s quickly take up the most interesting part of this blog- HOW WE STARTED POSITIVE DISCUSSIONS?
Here we are laying the real snippets from our awareness sessions. All of them go in a well thought out sequence, by which we established a special bond with the young girls.
● GOING BACK TO GRANDMA:
We make it a point to pick the closest real situations related to the community practices. While we were in those village schools, we always invited girls with an easy question.
First we told them about the traditions being followed and then we asked
“While undergoing periods, is using cloth right or not?” Surprisingly, 80-90% of the girls expressed that this practice is wrong.
● WHAT ABOUT INFECTION AMONG WOMEN?
Here, we asked them to share if their mothers, dadi and elder sisters have ever faced infection by using a piece of cloth? Generally, the answer was always a ‘NO’.
● DIRTY CLOTH IS WRONG OR NORMAL?
So what’s right?
And we got to know that this Practice is going on since a long time and they don’t buy new clothes to be used for absorbing the blood flow during periods. The reality is, some states have cloth pads available widely and some states don’t have these special clothes. So, we told them about some useful tips on how they can still use new cloth pieces every month.
First & Foremost of those Tips were:
+ Do wash and care, as instructed.
+ Don’t use hard detergents.
But they frankly told us that
“Cloth is Ok, but discomfort also comes with it”.
Now they are not switching to disposable sanitary pads just because of no availability in the nearby areas. On the other hand, few girls also shared their say, on how disposable pads become itchy for the skin.
Well, even we agreed that there are scientific researches on how the plastic linings of disposable pads cause itching and rashes.
● BEST WAY TO USE CLOTH:
So, here we share valuable information on how the girls should always dry their cloth pieces properly and in sunlight.
Our volunteers also shared the health advice on how chances of infection increase when although the cloth seems to be dry, but its’ not soaked/washed properly. Clothes always need care as they need to be washed after every use.
● ROLE OF WHO & UNICEF:
Its’ while preparing for our awareness sessions, that we learnt about how WHO and UNICEF are promoting cloth in underprivileged countries. They are doing this because disposable pads are not affordable and accessible by a large populace of some African Nations and other underprivileged communities across the world.
Plus proper hygiene facilities are also not available with those women who’ll have no other way out than to dump the used pads in open. So, cloth comes as the Most feasible choice in these cases.
● DILEMMA IN THE MINDS:
For the first time these school going girls of village had learnt about reusable cloth based sanitary pads. It was pretty obvious that they’ll share their dilemma in using this new product. And of course they’ll get a hundred doubts about it.
That’s where we compared all the 3 kinds of Menstrual Hygiene Products commonly available these days.
So, we brought up how the Reusable Sanitary Pad addresses all the issues:
+ Clothes don’t have Leak-proof layer and are uncomfortable. Whereas Reusable Pads by Unipads are soft and equipped with strong leak-proof layer.
+ Normal pads don’t have buttons for movement with the body and leakage issues increases. Whereas Unipads’ Reusable Sanitary Pads come with small comfy buttons that makes the pad get fit at the same place for longer hours.
+ Discomfort of clothes and Disposable Pads is perfectly addressed in reusable pads. From ensuring comfort while wearing to carrying in a leak proof pouch and using the skin friendly fabric, Unipads has researched very well about all aspects.
● DISCARD CLOTH RIGHT NOW?
It’ll just be wrong to ask the girls to discard clothes. Instead we advised them to replace one cloth after every 3-4 months of use.
Moreover, we also taught them about drying the cloth in proper sunlight In order to ensure good hygiene practice and get rid of any chances of infection.
● REALITY OF CLOTH:
It’s during these awareness sessions, that we also got to know about the kind of clothes used by women and girls for use while menstruation. Mostly, they use a cutout of
+ Old bed sheet
+ Old Sarees,
+ Old clothes, jeans
And in some cases even old rags are used.
After describing so much about how we engage the young girls for trying something new, you may have a final question:
Is that All?
This was just one small step that was taken up by the volunteers of Unipads and Saath NGO to make a big change in Gujarat. Now we are more than ready to serve across more areas of India. Keep Cheering Us for this Mission. And we hope you loved reading this blog.
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