Today’s mega story about rural women empowerment , where a solution was found for them on their menstruation problem. You guys already know the story of pad man as talks are on, thanks to the cool pad man movie, this is another story but it does not involve use of sanitary pads.
Yippe, Hi-Fi’s to all #SustainableMenstruation supportors, this story supports the use of sustainable, eco-friendly and cost effective products for period, these are #EcoFriendlyPeriod products. Last week lot of posts were made on this topic, many men have liked the posts and shared it, thank you for reading and being bold enough to support #SustainableMenstruation movement. I believe landfill waste is a issue and #SustainableMenstruation is a soluton for solving menstrunal waste issue and very happy men are willing to understand the issue and support women at period times; just like how India’s pad man Arunachalam Muruganantham did. However, he is not the only man to have worked heart and soul to find solution for menstrunal issues faced by poor women who cannot not afford market sanitary pads.
That’s right, there are other young men, and there is team of GOONJ too that had men like Anshu Gupta who had worked to find a solution for rural women period issue through their initiative called #MyPad. In 2004 or around that time, Goonj team visited villagea and wanted to solve sanitation issues in the villages they visited. Goonj team generally go to villages and find out the problem and empower local community to solve the problem. For ex, if villagers need a well to store water, Goonj arranges for materials for the making of the well, people get together to dig the well themselves. Goonj also works to get support of local Govt. to support people when they do such projects for material procurement assistance, and this strategy has worked. With this approach, villages have got roads, bridges, hand pumps, drainage systems, bathroom areas and what not. This has indirectly empowered village people, for ex, they can take bath, stay cleaner, women got places where they can get privacy for bathing and other purposes.You got to realise that India’s villages still don’t have basic facilities- like toilets, hospitals, schools that provide good education, water infrastructure, therefore life is very difficult. Anyway back to the story.
In their field trips to the villages, Goonj team found that rural women don’t have access to hygienic menstruation products therefore they used all possible products that can absorb the menstrual flow – cloth, rags, cow dung, sand etc. None of these were safe and hygenic products to use. It happened that one woman in the village died using blouse for period managenagement since she got tetanus coming in contact with the hook. There were other problems as well, families that had more than 2 women used the same cloth at period time, this cloth that was totally not designed for absorbing period flows was not dried in the sun which is very important for it to kill germs. Women found it difficult to do it because they lived in crowded clusters and were ashamed to hang period cloths outside as public can see it. This was a serious issue as it affected the reproductive health of women because as women followed such unhygeinic practices to manage their menstruation by the time they came of child bearing age, they had to have their uterus removed!! …
Goonj finally found a solution to address this women’s issue which later becomes a family issue as it affects women’s health. You can read about it in detail here – http://goonj.org/njpc/index.html
Basically, with all the cotton cloth materials they collected, Goonj team began manufacturing cloth pads called MyPads and they gave it to the women. They had divided the women into groups and talked about menstruation. They were told that with what ever water they have, just heat the water and wash the pads and dry it in the sun and reuse it again. The women did it and they feel no shame in hanging pads out in the sun. Goonj said they consulted educated experts from big institutions to find solution for the problem, their solution was distribute pads. Then Goonj team thought about this and felt that they were working on sanitation issues for having a clean village, if every eligible female uses disposables and throws it, it will all go to the area where lake is there in the village so the Goonj refused to adopt the sanitary pad solution; it would dirty the village with garbage.
The initiative was a success. Village women were used to cloth and can easily be acquanted to wear cloth pads, these pads were good in managing the flow and can be hygeinic, provided you wash it, then dry it in the sun. However, to talk about this issue was challenging however, Goonj team did it. This actually later provided employment to many women, they are working in stitching these cloth pads, it had positive effects.
So, as you guys enjoy pad man movie and know the story of the real pad man, think about other pad activists who recomend #SustainableMenstruation. Goonj team story should also be known, but there is another truth to it. Society would not accept cloth pad as solution. Filmmakers would not like to show that cloth pad can be a solution for menstruation while also not contribute to menstrual waste that end up as landfill garbage. Well, anyway more information on #SustainableMenstruation and #EcoFriendlyPeriod products here – https://www.greenthered.in/
Please feel free to spread the word. Goonj’s Anshu Gupta himself urged us to think about Menstrunal Cup, he said in rural households that is no space and 2 or 3 menstrunal cups occupy less space than all other period products and he is right. As he said, he never forced village women to use cloth pads, Goonj’s intention was only to give a good reuseable pad to every woman to manage her period hygenically and cost effectively. She was always free to buy the well marketed Sanitary napkins, it’s a matter of choice. Similarly all are free to make choice but make a smart choice and stay informed on #SustainableMenstruation, it’s a healthy trend, good for women’s health and environment.
Thankyou for reading, feel free to share if you want to spread Goonj’s story which you should, they are a different kind of cloth pad people. All respect, you can all know about Goonj , volunteer or get inspired and start initiatives of your own. They would love more people working to improve our country, villages etc. Check their fb page and their website, links are there in between text in this article.
You can caught Goonj team this month and next month, they are going to Cities to talk about what all they have done in their 19 years of existence, in short they are celebrating their 19th birthday with public.. Check updates in their fb page.