Greetings from Indian Dreams Foundation!
It is a pleasure to share our recent report on the progress of Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Project "SMILEY DAYS". Under this project, we believe Menstrual hygiene is fundamental to the dignity and well being of women and girls and an essential part of the basic hygiene, sanitation and reproductive health services to which every women and girl has a right. Every girl has the right to access information on menstrual hygiene and proper sanitation facilities at their home as well as in the schools.
In Past few months, Smiley Days team has been rigorously working to provide education on Menstrual Hygiene Management to the school girls as well as slums girls who are not enrolled in the school and access them hygiene kits to manage their menstruation with dignity. We realise to every girl that Menstruation is not a matter of shame even it is a matter of Pride, to being healthy is everyone’s rights!
We have conducted more than 20 Awareness workshops in different partner schools and reached more than 2000 girls.
Recently, we have conducted an Education Workshop on Importance of Menstrual Hygiene Management for the wellbeing of Women at S.S.M. Inter College, one of our partner schools. The interactive methods have been used to disseminate knowledge on Menstrual Hygiene Management like;
- Interactive session with Gynecologists (female specialist),
- Knowledge sharing session with different stakeholders like women, girls, school teachers, principals etc.
- Focus Group Discussion,
- Access to information to understand the menstrual cycle and how to manage menstruation hygienically,
- Access hygiene products to all the participants (Girls & Women) to follow hygiene practices during menstruation.
The workshop was concluded in eight sessions followed with refreshment for participants. Approximately 250 girls & women participated.
Below are the descriptions of all the sessions;
Session 1 - Registration & Detailed Introduction to the workshop
The registration of the participants has done in this session and described the Importance of Menstrual hygiene management for well being of the women.
Session 2 – Biological reason & process of Menstruation
Dr Rekha Gupta (gynaecologist) described the biological reason behind menstruation. However, very few girls & women knew about the scientific reason for Why do girls bleed?
The participants were taught through posters & pictures of female reproductive parts in a detailed manner.
Session 3 - Importance of Menstrual Hygiene Management
Dr Nidhi Gupta (gynaecologist) provided knowledge to the participants on the usage of hygiene practices during menses and why it is essential for healthy body, mind & soul.
They described the participants to follow hygiene practices to stay fit & healthy. Few crucial points they have discussed. Always use sanitary pads during menstruation to feel comfort & dry, Change pads on the regular interval, Wash hands before & after changing the pads and most important always use bins go through it – never throw on the street and flush the pads.
Session 4 – Relation to Education and Good Health
In this session, our counsellors Ms Pushpa Devi mentioned the relation of girls' education with their good health. She described if the girl is educated then they can take care of her health properly. Many girls skip their schools during menstruation due to inappropriate use of menstrual products; comfort situation and the shortage of girls’ toilets in the schools etc. The experts highlighted the importance of safe, sanitary practices commencing from washing the genital area with water after each use and also after urination. The sanitary napkins need to be changed regularly after 4 to 5 hours to avoid any leakage, odor and infections.
Session 5 - Good health is a matter of wellbeing
Under this session, our counsellors shared few of the case studies with the participants to motivate them to follow healthy WASH practices and emphasised to follow healthy habits for everyone's' wellbeing.
Session 6 – Description of Hygiene Kit
All participants received Hygiene kit that contains eight sanitary pads, one vaginal wash, 1 Panty, 2 Soaps and Information leaflet. Our team described the kits to the proper usage of the products. They have also demonstrated the proper hand washing steps to follow the proper health.
Session 7 – Question & Answering Session
In this session, participants were asking there queries on topics as mentioned earlier and an expert panel was given responses.
Below are the few questions the participants were asked during the program –
"Why does my daughter get much pain during menstruation"- Smt. Kamlesh, 35 years.
"My daughter is 15 years old, but till date, her menstruation has not started, why?" Asked by
Smt. Manju Devi, 37 Years.
“My periods long last for 8-10 days, what is the reason?” Asked by Soniya, 14 years (Student)
“What is the best way to wash cloth during periods?” Asked by Bhavna, 14 years
Session 8 – Distribution of Hygiene kits & Eatables
The seminar was ended with the distribution of hygiene kits to the participants followed by refreshments/ eatables. Each participant was collected its hygiene kit at the registration desk.
However, this time more success has been added to the SMILEY DAYS project, few more Smiley Girls & SAKHIS (Change Agents) have been created. Change Agents are the women/ older girls of their community who represents Smiley Days Goals and works as a catalyst for our project.
"I feel proud to associate with Smiley Days Project. I am happy to associate with the projects’ mission and spreading knowledge on Menstruation among many women of my community. Previously, I had also a very little knowledge of menstruation even I thought that it's a curse for women. But now I realised the importance of Menstruation and how it effects on our life. I do not want that my daughters would get little information which I had before. Even I want to become powerful and empower, although they can manage their periods with proud. Thanks, IDF for giving me such opportunity to spread knowledge and also thanks to recognize me as a Change Agent for my community", said Mamta, 34, mother of four (three daughters and one son)
IDF is thankful to all donors for helping girls and women to gain confidence and motivation to live a healthy and happy life.
Indian Dreams Foundation