I am Soma Pramanik and I am 13 years old. I am studying in Class VII. Three years back when I was a student of Primary school I learnt so many things from my mother. These include doing household work, cooking, working in paddy field, sowing, fetching water to cultivated field, boiling paddy to make rice, etc. In fact this is what we all village girls learn from our mothers during our childhood - we have to learn how to do housework. But many girls have not learnt what I have learnt from going to high school. I have learnt a lot about health and hygiene.
I, like all village girls, had been using old and dirty cloths during our menstruation periods. We did not have any other options. We used to wash these clothes secretly in the polluted unclean ponds so that nobody could see them. After washing we used to dry them in unhealthy places secretly. During these five days every month, we had to miss school because wearing the same cloth from 9.30 am till 6.30 pm was extremely painful. We had to wear the same one because there weren’t any clean cloths or places to change them. This mean that we used to lag behind in our studies and couldn’t get good results in the examinations.
We now have come to know about napkins which are use-and-throw, very hygienic and user friendly. I talked with my mother also about these napkins. Our school does not have any changing rooms. Rather, the toilet that we have in school is very small and if I stay inside for a minute, friends start knocking the door. It is very busy. I have heard that even the government schools do not have this facility. They even do not have dustbins. Project staff demanded to the schools to do something about it. I have heard from Runa one of my friends who studies in Kastekumari high school that their school has the facility of a changing room and the school supplies them with napkins. We then went to their school and experienced the same. The project then demanded that school should do something and provide napkins. During the Durga Puja holidays, I had been to my uncle’s house on outing, and had discussed the matter with my cousins and aunt. This learning on menstrual hygiene has been of great help for me and my school friends. We hope that our school will soon provide facilities of changing rooms, napkins and sanitary bins, which will help us to avoid missing school every month. Also, with the help of social workers now we have a sanitary bin at home. My mother made it and it did not need any cost. It is portable and we can take it to the backside our house and use it. My mother is so intelligent. But she told that she learned this from me. I am proud.