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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Lives Of Rural Women Are Changing Thanks To This Menstrual Hygiene Initiative

  • JWB Post
  •  November 17, 2016


When you are in Dharavi, the largest slum in India, the thought of menstrual hygiene is the last to cross your mind. Instead, the dingy lanes, open drains, poverty and anti-social activities are some of the things that may leave you gaping at the poor living conditions of the slum.

But two years ago, during her visit to the slum, Suhani Mohan, the co-founder of Saral Designs managed to understand the poor state of menstrual hygiene in the slum, where women had no facility to avail proper sanitary pads during their periods.

After talking with the women living in the slum, Mohan realized that this problem was the underlying cause for many other issues such as backwardness and diseases in women living in the slum.

A few visits to the tribal villages near Mumbai was also instrumental in Mohan’s understanding that how women in these villages had no idea about menstrual hygiene and often didn’t speak out in front of men out of embarrassment.

This led to the formation of Saral Designs, which specializes in making ultra-thin sanitary napkins which are extra-large sized and are appropriate for women living in rural areas whose access to sanitary pads is limited.

But even after coming up with these special sanitary pads, there was one problem. How do you make them reach the women in remote villages with limited connectivity?

It was this thought that led to the constitution of women’s groups called Sanginis who now go to many villages in Maharashtra to distribute sanitary pads to rural women.

These women have been trained by Saral Designs in various subjects along with menstrual hygiene. Unlike the time when men talk about menstruation, women in villages have no inhibitions and don’t get embarrassed when the Sanginis talk with them about such matters.

As it is evident from this initiative, there’s a lot that we can do to change the world around us for good. It’s about time that menstrual hygiene is no longer a neglected subject.

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