Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India

by Milaan Be the Change(NGO)
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Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India
Empowering 200 Girl Leaders in India

Project Report | Jun 7, 2023
Cycles of Change: Celebrating Menstruation

By Rati Misra | Executive Director

Gullak / Piggy Bank by the Girl Icon
Gullak / Piggy Bank by the Girl Icon

When it comes to India’s inherent development as a nation, menstruation and female hygiene take a significant toll. In addition to the societal stigmas associated with menstruation, a significant portion of Indian women also struggle with the lack of menstrual hygiene, which is seen as a basic need for women and affects both rural and urban populations. Many struggling women in India mostly use old rags and discarded cotton saris when menstruating. In some cases, women and girls also use fine sand, sawdust, husks or even leaves. For them, sanitary pads are for use only on special occasions, if they can afford it. 

 

We are delighted to share a few stories of how our Girl Icons are not just raising awareness on the issue of menstruation, to break the myths and taboos around it but are also going further to provide local solutions to women and girls in their communities.

 

A Piggy Bank for a Pad:

 

It is this taboo that the Girl Icons are now addressing. In the small town of Gosainganj in Lucknow an 18-year-old Girl Icon is working tirelessly to solve the problems faced by women and girls in her community. She has spearheaded the "Hum Sab ki Soojh Boojh Karenge Pad Use", a ‘Gullak’ (piggy bank) initiative. She and her group of 20 peers each save INR 5 every week in a piggy bank, which they use to purchase proper sanitary pads. This initiative has not only aided their health but also taught them valuable financial skills.

 

Her passion for making a positive impact on society is inspiring. "This is a small initiative, but I would like to scale it and create awareness among the people of my village to do the same so that they can invest in their health,” she shares. Despite adversity, she has shown that a single person can create significant change, one small initiative at a time. Her story serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that we can all make a difference in the world if we put our minds to it.

 

From Girl Icon to Entrepreneur:

 

The second story is of another Girl Icon from Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh in central India, who along with her peers, is raising awareness about period poverty, a dire issue affecting women and girls in her community.

 

Upon enrolling in the Girl Icon Program, she mulled over the idea of starting something that would benefit the young girls and women in her community. "The program gave me knowledge that allowed me to comprehend my community’s issues better," she says. Taking inspiration from a local female vendor, she decided to take action. However, the idea of starting an enterprise to address menstruation was not well-received by her mother, given that 42% of girls in India use cloth to manage their periods.

 

"I came up with the concept of establishing a small unit for manufacturing sanitary pads with my peers. I underwent a two-month training program with my three comrades in the main city. Not everyone was on board with my decision. I faced resistance from my mother, but my father supported me by providing me with the necessary funds to buy raw materials," she shares.

 

The second hurdle she faced was setting up the manufacturing unit since they were not allowed to make pads inside their homes. "We started on my veranda. We began approaching local vendors, shopkeepers, Anganwadi centres, and hospitals. Now, we supply 300 to 400 sanitary pads on a monthly basis to 18 villages, 30 mohallas, 3 schools, 2 hospitals, and 1 Anganwadi centre. We earn a monthly profit of INR 25,000 to 30,000," she reveals. Because of the negotiation skills she developed as part of her Girl Icon journey, she was able to mobilise her peers and convince them to join the social enterprise.

Girl Icon with the Gullak/ Piggy Bank
Girl Icon with the Gullak/ Piggy Bank
Girl Icon from Madhya Pradesh
Girl Icon from Madhya Pradesh
Pad manufacturing in progress
Pad manufacturing in progress
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Organization Information

Milaan Be the Change(NGO)

Location: Gurugram, Haryana - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @supportmilaan
Project Leader:
Eli Rai
Gurugram , Haryana India
$2,958 raised of $65,791 goal
 
59 donations
$62,833 to go
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