Menstruation is a taboo topic in India. The myth that menstruating girls and women are dirty or impure prevents them from taking part in many aspects of daily life, including going to school. This culture of silence and shame is compounded by a lack of sanitary products or access to clean water and bathroom facilities. As a result, the mentality, well-being and health of Indian girls and women suffer.
To combat menstrual taboo in our adopted village Bhikamkor, IPHD started the Menstrual Hygiene Project in 2016. IPHD interns deliver workshops that teach secondary school girls about puberty and reproductive health, presenting menstruation as a natural process. Girls are empowered to speak out about menstruation and live without shame and embarrassment.
In 2015 and 2016, IPHD distributed Menstrual Hygiene Kits to approximately 50 adolescent girls and women in the village. The kits, which were donated by the nonprofit Days for Girls Australia, include two reusable sanitary pads (that can be used for up to two years), five changeable sanitary napkins, two pairs of underwear, a towel and a bar of soap.