To reach out to young girls and women in villages across Uttar Pradesh on menstrual hygiene, the All India Professionals Congress has started a unique yatra “Meri Pad Yatra”, where volunteers will not only speak about menstrual hygiene but also distribute reusable sanitary napkins.
The initiative, which has been undertaken in Gorakhpur and Jhansi so far and plans are afoot to cover a backward village of Deoria district next, has been funded through volunteers. At the last leg of the programme, the group will focus on Lucknow.
“Our initiative is basically about creating awareness about menstrual hygiene in underdeveloped areas but after some thinking we realised that along with the counselling we need to give them cost effective alternative to cloth as well. I went to Johannesburg also to search for cost effective tampon or cups but we realised that it might have some social stigma thus after much research we zeroed-in on these reusable pads based on Swiss technology, which can be reused for a year,” said Ameeta Sinh, President of All India Professionals Congress Uttar Pradesh Chapter. She said that the sanitary napkins being distributed by them are being procured from a Mumbai based firm.
The campaign also tells the story of a 12-year-old girl from Madhya Pradesh who had her uterus removed after she contracted reproductive tract infection. Her story is being told to make women and girls aware about the importance of sanitation and menstrual hygiene.
“We discuss with them so that mensuration is not viewed as a stigma and that it is not a crime. While some women understand it easily, some take time. But we will continue to cover more and more villages across the state through our team of volunteers and crowdfunding,” said Sinh.