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Mar 3, 2020

Smiley Days - stories from the field

Smiley Days
Smiley Days

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

Menstruation, a natural process in women’s life that needs special care from a physical and psychological point of view. Negligence in menstrual hygiene can result in biological disorders, for example, different sorts of infections but unfortunately, awareness concerning this area of life is not highlighted due to the socio-cultural trends of our society. Promotion of menstrual hygiene is indirect support to gender equality, national development, high literacy rate, and SDGs accomplishment.

In August 2016, Indian Dreams Foundation has started an awareness generation project named Smiley Days that aims to promote MHM knowledge & information through different sets of activities and engage more stakeholders with the project. The IDF team members conduct MHM awareness sessions in target communities as well as in schools. Smiley Girls Club has been formed and trained to disseminate information on hygiene management during periods.

Rani (name changed), student of class 8, is one of the Smiley Club members. After getting training on Menstrual Hygiene Management in her school, she discussed the information with the female family members and conveyed the message in her neighborhood and friends. Palak (name changed) was one of her audience/neighbor who is 15 years old girl belongs to a slum area of Agra. Belonging to the most under-developed area Being she never knows the best practices of Menstrual Hygiene.

In the interview, Palak said “I used to throw the used sanitary cloths and pads in open but when Rani shared information then I came to know about the proper practices of Menstrual Hygiene. Now I throw my used sanitary pads in the dustbin after wrapped in the newspaper”.

Rani the Smiley Club member said that in start she was shy while discussing the menstrual hygiene issues with her friends but now their welcoming attitude has enhanced her confidence.

IDF has partnered with more than 25 schools in Agra and reached more than 3000 school girls. Now the schoolgirls have been changing their mindsets towards periods and start discussing the issues related to the MHM.

Thanks for your support and encouragement!

Regards,

Team IDF

Feb 24, 2020

MHM Helping Keep Girl In School

Smiley Girls
Smiley Girls

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

 

(Menstrual hygiene management helping keep the girl in school)

“When I got my periods, my mother didn’t allow me to go to school during period days; even I was also afraid of being humiliated, so I just stayed at home,” says Deepa (name changed), a seventeen – year – old school girl.

Deepa is not alone, according to an early survey conducted by the organization under Smiley Days Project, a large ratio of girls miss up to three days of school each month because they have their periods. The reasons are many like shame, discomfort, private toilets facilities are often not accessible at school and lack of menstrual product. Along with these, cultural taboos are also a major reason behind the issue that prohibits girls & women from everyday activities. Misinformation & a lack of knowledge about menstruation and reproductive system in general compound the problem.

The awareness program on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) named SMILEY DAYS that IDF has been implementing to break down the stigma surrounding girls’ menstruation while educating girls & women on their changing bodies and menstruation hygiene management.

“We girls were afraid to talk about periods even with our mothers also but when we come to school and the IDF team has started to talk to us on periods and MHM. Now everyone, even the small girls who haven’t started their periods yet, they already know about changes during puberty and they take care of themselves and understood what to do when it comes to a period”,                                               says Poonam (name changed), a schoolgirl.

 

 

We will continue to keep you updated about our work and events.

Many thanks again for your support!

 

Regards,

IDF Team

Jan 24, 2020

Story of Change

School Workshop
School Workshop

Dear friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

We are happy to share the progress report of the Smiley Days Project that addresses the menstrual hygiene management. It is an important aspect of the life of women and adolescent girls between menarche and menopause. Despite being so the topic is often underestimated or even overlooked by society. In India, talking openly about periods is even forbidden. Our society considers it to be a taboo and this makes us ignorant about such an essential aspect of women’s health. 

We regularly interact with many adolescent girls and discuss their issues. Today we came up with a story of change under Smiley Days Project;

Renu, a 14-year-old girl lives with her family in a slum of Agra. She is currently in the 6th standard. Renu feels very shy about answering the questions on menstruation. She started with her menstrual cycle at the age of 13. It happened quite naturally, she went to the washroom and observed the blood in her urine. She went all scared to her mother as she didn’t have any prior knowledge about menstruation. Her mother and teachers never educated her regarding this. Even when she went to her mother and informed her about the blood in urine her mother just handed her a piece of cloth and told her that as she is a girl and grown-up it was meant to happen.

Renu used to use the piece of cloth until she was educated about the use of sanitary pads at Smiley Days Workshop which was organized in her school. Renu admitted that using pads relieved her from severe stomachache and itching. She said that she likes to sleep all day long during menstruation and her mother takes care of her during those five days by providing her milk and vegetables which she doesn’t get in normal days.

So now Renu is mature enough to understand the benefits of the use of sanitary pads and now she educates other girls in her school for using sanitary pads. 

Thank you so much for your support,

Regards,

Team IDF

 

 

School girls with their Smiley Kits
School girls with their Smiley Kits
 
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