–Awareness, Education and Financial capacity, still a basic level in India to afford sanitary products.

Everyone has a story to tell. Observe your environment around, from people sleeping on roads or people in Starbucks sipping coffee.

Recently I was traveling by an auto-rickshaw and I noticed something very unusual and new. The auto driver was wearing a teeshirt that was of a sanitary pad brand. I was very curious and asked him about his clothing, thus started a conversation. Randomly asked why this teeshirt? He looked at me through rearview mirror smiled and said, I am trying to promote sanitary napkins and hygiene and then started narrating his story.

He lived in a small village near Saurashtra where religion plays an upper hand and rituals are just blindly practiced. 2 years back he got married and started his happy life. After a month or so his wife had her 1st period and his mother asked her not to use pads because they are a sin as per her mental situation. Once they visited Ahmedabad to an OB gynecologist because they were trying to conceive a child, there the doctor told him that due to using a cloth she has infection spread to stomach now and has to remove her uterus and infection spreading in her stomach or she won’t survive. Due to lack of money, she didn’t survive more than a month and therefore he is promoting menstrual hygiene.

This incident really made me wonder where is the country heading to in terms of development. The latest national survey says 58% of young Indian women (15-30-year-old) use hygiene methods but the other 42% still doesn’t because of poor education, wrong beliefs, and financial issues. Government has started promoting menstrual hygiene through free subsidies in the distribution of sanitary pads, awareness campaign in backward areas, etc.
When government schemes are doing their role we need to understand that change can be bought only when we change our thinking. It’s really important that we understand our own health and maintain it.

My advice?

A little piece of advice, its high time we educate people around us about safety through different interesting activities so that we head towards a safer and healthy India. Reach out to the nearby NGO’s and help spread more awareness.

 

-Vidhi Gajjar