Help girls in rural Assam have safe periods
Ashima Begum is a student of Class XI from the village of Morigaon District, Assam. To reach the school one has to travel through an inhospitable terrain for a two km stretch of broken road. The devastating flood of last year has inflicted irreparable damage to the road. There are around 300 girl students in the school. Ashima, a frail and pale girl of around 15 has to walk two km to the river bank, take a country boat to cross, walk another km to reach school. Her parents are marginal farmers who are hardly making a living with the meager farm income and occasional hard labor in others fields. She is the second one out of the seven siblings. Her elder sister, who never went to any school save a year or two in a small Madrassa, is now married. She is 17 but already has a child in her lap. She is expecting a second child. Ashima's parents are unhappy because they think she is wasting her time by going to school. Luckily for her, the school is not only free but gives a midday meal, school uniform and all books, her only expenditure is commuting by boat. Ashima misses her school three to four days every month when she has her periods,. When our volunteers inquired from the students, only two had heard about sanitary pads. Even the daughter of a teacher at the same school, who is in class XI, had not heard of the existence of such pads. They use dirty cloth pads, to contain the trickle down, which they hide out of shame. There is an urgent need to educate the girls about menstrual hygiene. Unfortunately even if they are convinced that using sanitary pads is a must for their health and hygiene, no one in the school can spend towards the cost of buying the pads from the market. Even if the parents can afford, they themselves are unaware of its importance and they will consider it as an infrastructure expenditure. This is a serious problem that needs immediate redress.
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What the beneficiary gets
SENEH's sanitary napkin program aims to address the issue of menstrual hygiene. They conducted a study in an all-girls school located in a small semi urban locality. The study included a medical camp mainly by female doctors to ascertain the health and hygiene standards of the adolescent rural school going girl children from very poor backgrounds. The entire student population of the school was taken as the sample size.
A shocking revelation was that 92 percent do not use sanitary napkins. They use unhygienic dirty torn clothes to arrest the flow trickling down. 32% of the girls avoided school during this period. To support the girls and improve the hygiene and overall sanitation, SENEH aims to distribute sanitary napkins free of cost. The sanitary napkins will be purchased in bulk from wholesalers which will benefit them with a discount. Every quarter SENEH's staff will travel to both the schools and distribute the napkins directly to the beneficiaries.
Bhavada Devi Memorial Philanthropic Trust (SENEH)
23 March, 2021
"Surabhi", care for health and hygeine of the girl child
As per latest Government statistics , Assam has the highest per capita deaths of young mothers in child birth in India. We undertook a survey in the worst effected district of Assam by a select groups of volunteers to find the reasons for this. Their findings are summarized as follows.
a. Ninety percent of the young adults were found to suffer from anemia.
b. Ninety eight percent did not have access to menstrual hygienic products like a Sanitary pad. Hence use of dirty cloth was the norm. That, in all, probability was mainly one of the major reasons for high post natal mortality of young mothers. It also resulted in missing schools every month for the period.
c. The people are so poor , for them spending money every month for a triviality(?) like Sanitary Pad was the last priority , more so, specially for the girl child.
d. The mothers do not know such an important item ever existed .
Major reason as per experts for this deaths was Menstrual Hygiene The Trust decided to target the school going girls by first educating them the need for the Sanitary towels and since their parents could not afford it, PROVIDE THE TOWELS FREE to the adolescent school going girls at their class rooms every month. As of now 300 girls are benefitted
5 July, 2020
"SURABHI" , The fragrance of menstrual hygiene
"SURABHI" , The fragrance of menstrual hygiene
We started free distribution of sanitary napkins to 300 young adolescent school girls from December, 2019. These girls never used sanitary napkins before. Within a month school attendance improved. Also the girls shredded their inhibitions and demands from others increased twofold.