Menstrual hygiene is a ‘taboo’ topic of sorts, especially in the rural areas of the country. Since it isn’t often discussed, and when it is, with vague and minimal details- there is a lot of fear, confusion and anxiety associated with the word ‘periods’.
When girls are menstruating, they’re forced to stay at home as both they and their parents aren’t equipped with the knowledge or the materials to handle the situation. These girls don’t have access to menstrual products like sanitary napkins, which might make it easier for them to attend school. They aren’t taught how to manage periods in public settings like at school or office, leading them to miss classes every month and then to ultimately drop out of school after a certain point.
Periods become a reason for the exclusion of girls from most social, domestic, religious and educational activities. They began to believe that this natural process occurring in their bodies makes them dirty and thus anything to do with their periods becomes dirty or ‘unspeakable’. This is why women and adolescent girls often feel uncomfortable discussing their menstrual issues, which might prove to be dangerous in some cases - as they may be suffering from an infection, cysts etc.
At Doctors for Seva, we try to work around the stigma associated with menstrual health and hygiene. Using resources like an NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) published book and the knowledge of many reputed doctors, we were able to create Mythri – an animated video aiming to make menstrual health a more approachable topic for adolescents. This video teaches them why, how and when periods occur and answers all the common questions regarding menstruation.
Our Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Program focuses on encouraging hygienic practices during menstruation, dispelling common myths and misconceptions associated with periods and enabling girls to speak about menstrual issues without inhibition. The overall aim of this project is to make menstruation an approachable and discussable topic, even in rural India.
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