To address difficulties face by women from economically weaker sections during the pandemic outbreak, a group of women volunteers have set up a “pad-bank” in Haryana’s Narnaul town to distribute sanitary napkins to women in slums and rural areas free of cost.
The activists of the NGO, Nari Shakti Club, which has set up the pad-bank, claim this is the first such initiative in the state.
“The lockdown has constrained the movement of everybody, especially women. We used to go to colonies to distribute home-made masks to the women. Other groups were also distributing food and sanitisers to the needy people. But we soon realised the women were facing more severe problems than we anticipated which prompted us to provide sanitary napkins to them during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Simran Chauhan, an activist of the NGO.
“By setting this pad-bank we also wanted to provide a platform where such issues of women can be discussed in a state, which is known for its patriarchal set up of the society, and remove the very taboo around it,” added Chauhan, a national medalist in the martial arts.
Almost a month back, Sirsa MP Sunita Duggal had inaugurated the pad-bank.
“These kinds of efforts will uplift the status of women while helping poor sections of the society,” Duggal had commented.
According to Chauhan, they have already distributed 560 packets of sanitary pads in six slums of Narnaul till now. The initiative, said activists from the NGO, resembles the message of Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte starrer movie ‘Pad Man’ which was too aimed to spread awareness about menstruation and hygiene by offering cost-friendly pads.
A volunteer for the campaign, Shikha Sharma, said, “We held awareness seminars before the distribution of pads to make women more informed about the importance of sanitary pads. The response from the affected communities has been very encouraging.”
Founder of the NGO, Manju Chauhan, a social activist, had earlier campaigned against the ‘purdah system’, female foeticide and honour killings in Haryana. She even held counselling sessions for the women to encourage them to speak up for their rights.
She has also arranged one-month courses for parlour, stitching and other craft work apart from offering free self-defence classes to young girls.
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