Support for menstrual health for girls in India

by Indian Dreams Foundation
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Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India
Support for menstrual health for girls in India

Girls' right to education is being violated through inadequate menstrual hygiene education, insufficient water and sanitation facilities and poor access to sanitary menstrual materials. Menstrual hygiene facilities and services keep girls in the school to reach their full potential.

So far, we have registered approximately 800 girls and their mothers on the Smiley Days Programme. This number creates a significant member base for our campaign, and we hope to build on this in the coming months to attain our target of reaching out to 5000 girls and women in the local community. Since most of the beneficiaries are enrolled in schools, we direct our efforts towards partnering with these institutions on a wide range of events:

 Awareness workshop

 IDF team conducted health, hygiene and well-being awareness workshops regularly with Schoolgirls. Recently, our team has organized workshops in a girls' school in the rural pocket of Agra.

The majority of girls in rural communities use waste cloths to absorb menstrual blood because they cannot afford the cost of sanitary napkins. Furthermore, in some cases, they lack awareness of using them. While most girls were initially hesitant to speak about their experiences, they opened up to the IDF team through the Quiz Card activity. By allowing them to write their questions instead of asking out loud, we were able to get much more engagement and frankness in our discussion.

 Informal activities: We have also organized a painting activity in different partners schools, where girls were asked to draw around the theme of 'Healthy and happy girl'. Through this fun-filled and relaxed activity, we hope to motivate girls to address their ideas on menstruation through the medium of art.

 School Facilitators: Besides directly interacting with the students ourselves, we also believe that the roles of teachers are essential in providing the required psycho-social support for their students. Therefore we hope to train teachers (at least two female teachers) to provide this support to adolescent girls and organize regular hygiene motivation sessions, which will supplement the activities we undertake.

More than half of the school teachers said that they do not have sufficient knowledge of menstruation hygiene management (MHM) practices, and some had a basic idea about menstrual health & hygiene.

According to the information gathered from teachers, taboos, cultural beliefs, and silence on this issue are the primary sources of unawareness and lack of knowledge. Most schools do not integrate the MHM issue within their curricular activities. The situation is most apparent in co-education schools where girls and boys study together.

 Renovation of toilets in schools

 This time has been more crucial for IDF to spot the new toilets' construction locations and renovation for the old toilets in the schools for the girls. Under the WASH practices, we also stress the importance of school toilets built to accommodate menstruating girls' specific needs for privacy, space, washing facilities, correct disposal of menstrual pads, and installation of washbasins for healthy hand wash practices.

We have chosen/spotted those schools which do not have functioning toilets. Under the project, we also stress the importance of school toilets to accommodate menstruating girls' specific needs for privacy, space, washing facilities, and correct disposal or cleaning of menstrual pads.

 

However, separate toilets will give facilities and privacy to girls at the schools to change their sanitary pads/materials quickly and hygienically.

 Other relevant activities: 

 

Health kit distribution:

 In addition to generating awareness about good menstrual health practices, we also believe that we must provide girls with the required utilities such as sanitary napkins. We are currently finalizing the purchase of these kits, which will be then distributed to the adolescent girls registered on the Smiley Days campaign. We will also be organizing the first health camp under this campaign in January 2017.

 Community initiatives:

 We also recognize that for a campaign to be truly successful, one needs to consider the local environment and the beneficiaries. We are, therefore, in the process of mapping 5-6 local communities to improve sanitation facilities; we are currently working on the toilet and washbasin construction in five schools and three households. We hope to create a long-term solution to hygiene issues in our target areas through such a building.

 

IDF has already organized various activities and is working towards meeting the objectives of our Smiley Days campaign. We hope to build on our existing model and reach all our metrics across education, provision of supplies, and engagement with stakeholders and communities in the forthcoming year.

 

Thank you so much for your continued support and motivation!

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Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

There are social restrictions in the number of communities related to girls and women during the menstrual periods. Most of the communities restricted girls and women about the basic day-to-day lifestyle during the period.

Such restrictions during menstruation affect girls' and women's emotional state, mental, physical health, and lifestyle.

Post covid 2.0, the IDF team conducted health awareness workshops in different urban schools and interacted with several girls about their menstruation and the impact of covid.

Few girls were ashamed when we started the topic well others were interested in talking about their experiences. Many girls shared the vital restrictions that make them low, less confident and stressed for the entire duration.
Kirti(name changed) discussed the restrictions she faces during her periods…

- She cannot attend a holy function, i.e. worship, touching a god's statue etc.

- She is not allowed to cook and enter the kitchen during her periods

- She had to sleep separately from other members of her family

- She cannot attend school during the menstrual

- She was not allowed to go outside for playing with her friends or siblings

- She was not allowed to wash her hair during the periods.

All such constraints during the periods marked a profound negative impact on girls' souls and steered them for distress and effects of desolation due to unusual behaviours of others every month.


IDF is rigorously working to change the people's mindsets towards taboos & myths associated with menstruation through different modes of activities in schools and communities under the SMILEY DAYS.


Due to regular interactions with the targeted communities under the Smiley Days project, more than 75% of the girls and women became aware of their health and now acknowledge menstruation as a natural part of their lives.

On behalf of the IDF team, We want to thank everyone for your generous support and gift for selecting the Smiley Days Project to transform the lives of underprivileged girls & women from the urban and rural slums.

Thank you once again, and we look forward to your continued support.

 

Regards,

Team IDF

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Smiley Days Team
Smiley Days Team

Dear Friends,

 

Greetings!

IDF is rigorously creating awareness in urban and rural slums in India about menstruation, menstrual hygiene management and the importance of menstrual hygiene products to stay fit and motivated.

Jyoti Singh, Project lead said, “When we have launched our Smiley Days Project with few schools in Agra to target school girls from age 14 years onwards and providing them information and knowledge on Menstrual hygiene issues. Then slowly we realized that we must educate the mothers and immediate female family members of the girls also to break the taboo associated with periods and we have started to initiate a multi prolonged approach to tackle the challenges associated with menstruation. We have started to build the capacity of the teachers by organizing training sessions for the school teachers along with the targeted girls' groups, we have included girls’ mothers and providing them knowledge on menstrual hygiene management and we have developed Smiley Girls Groups in the schools to initiating peer learning. Thanks to our supporters who are continuously helping us to reach the large masses and spreading awareness on menstruation matters”.

With your support, we are able to educate more than 6000 girls about their menstrual health and hygiene.

Thank you so much for your support and belief in our cause.

 

Thanks & Regards,

Team IDF

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Sonia with her 12th exams result
Sonia with her 12th exams result

Dear friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

We are happy to share the success stories of our beneficiaries and the impact of the project on the ground. The Smiley Days team regularly interacts with adolescent girls in underprivileged communities and discusses their issues by providing them appropriate counseling/ guidance.

Today we came up with a story of change;

"Today, I have crisscrossed all the traditional age mindsets that girls cannot get education in distressed & challenging circumstances. Our patriarchal society always tries to break the confidence of the girl child, especially when the girls belong to the poor, marginalized sections of society and when girls hit their puberty age", said Sonia (name changed).

Her 12th board exam result is her intense retort to prejudiced people with gender discrimination and inequality mindsets.

Sonia is brought up in a poverty-stricken scheduled caste family of four and lives in slums, lacking toilets and drinking water facilities. Her mother was also a victim of early child marriage, faced many challenges, and could not get an education due to harsh poverty and a conservative attitude.

Sonia's mother shared her journey of life several times with Sonia and her sibling. When IDF team members met with Sonia and her mother, she said that in her village, women were treated as a burden in the family, and their lives were like cattle which had to follow all customs without any self-acknowledgment.

During the menstrual periods, girls were required to leave home for at least five days and stayed in a hut outside the village.  With tears in her eyes, she said that these five days in every month were a horrible time for all girls to face heaps of difficulties and feelings of shame, dirtiness, fears, and unhygienic practices were the days' orders.

She added that getting an education is everyone's right, but we could not envision going to school in any case. I am still guilted that I could not get an education.

However, after giving birth to my first girl child, I was determined that history would not repeat with my daughter at any cost. She will get the education and will be regarded as an independent and empowered woman.

Sonia completed her primary education at a government school. Nevertheless, after completing primary school, she started menstruation.  Sonia's father denied enrolling her in school for further education.  Instead, he was convinced to stop Sonia's education and forced her to do household work.

However, her mother endured for her right to education and continuously motivated the father for her education. She started work as a maid in a school to earn and invest in Sonia's education. However, her income was not sufficient to maintain even her school fees. In this phase of time, she became helpless and was disappointed with these severe monetary conditions, and as a result, Sonia was out of school after her primary education.

Then one fine day, Sonia's mother met with the IDF team and urged them to support her education. Sonia was enrolled in a private school for further education and connected with the Smiley Days team on a regular basis where she got knowledge on menstrual hygiene management.

Sonia and her mother are filled with happiness because she has passed the 12th board exam this year and scored good marks.

Today Sonia feels proud to be a part of Smiley Days and spreading awareness among her school girls towards good hygiene and well-being. Now she proudly says “Yes, I am CHANGE”.

There are many success stories of the girls who become aware of their menstrual rights and well-being.

Thank you so much for your support!

Regards,

Team IDF

Awareness workshop with rural girls and women
Awareness workshop with rural girls and women
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MHD 2021
MHD 2021

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Indian Dreams Foundation!

Firstly, we would like to extend our thanks to you for supporting our project and helping us to touch more lives through the SMILEY DAYS project and realizing every girl has the right to smile and lead a healthy life.

Today we would like to share some testimonials of the beneficiaries that we have recently collected on Menstrual Hygiene Day. However, our team collected few handwritten notes via testimonials of the girls that were written in the local language by the girls only. We celebrated MHD 2021 at our Women’s Centre with a group of adolescent girls and made them aware of menstrual hygiene management and healthy practices during periods. The girls have shared their experiences with us and also shared that how the Smiley Days Project has positively impacted their lives.

Tanisha (name changed), who is 13 years old, has written “I often visit IDF’s center and today is my third time. I like to come here and spend time with DIDI (IDF’s staff). Today I have learned a lot about periods. Now I call periods days my Smiley days. A few months ago during the lockdown, I got my periods 1st time but with the help of Smiley days team, I was successful to manage my menses with pride”.

 

Meena (name changed), 18 years written, “Today I felt very happy to get more information on menstruation during the workshop organized by Smiley Days team, I got knowledge on menstruation cycle, periods are very important for every girl because it makes us capable to give birth to another life. I also informed about 28 days menstrual cycle. So that next time I can track my periods date and will do preparation for that accordingly. Smiley Days project is really a nice project to make girls and women informed and knowledgeable”.

 

Lalita (name changed) 34 years old married woman, she is having four children. She married at the tender age of 16 with an illiterate daily wages worker. Her husband is abusive and alcoholic who used to quarrel with her regularly. Lalita attends awareness workshop regularly and teaches the same knowledge to her daughter who is 12 years old and recently, got her first menstruation during the first Covid wave lockdown. Lalita taught her daughter about the importance of periods and how to manage them. Lalita learned all these things during Smiley Days workshops.

On 28th May, we called some girls and women at the women’s resource center to celebrate International Menstrual Hygiene Day. Lalita also attended the celebration and was surprised when she knew that menstruation is celebrated in the entire world with enthusiasm. She felt really happy and realized women are important for everyone. That day, she proudly said, “I am proud of myself to be a woman or not even a woman but a menstruating woman. Thanks Smiley days team members who spreading love, happiness and motivation to among adolescent girls and women”.

There are many girls and women who have shared their testimony with us and it is our pleasure to share with you those stories.

Once again thanks to all supporters and well-wishers for joining hands with us and supporting this project to transforms the lives of many girls.     

 

 

Thanks & Regards,

IDF Team 

MHD 2021
MHD 2021
MHD 2021
MHD 2021
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Indian Dreams Foundation

Location: Agra, Uttar Pradesh - India
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Project Leader:
Punit Asthana
Agra, Uttar Pradesh India
$39,787 raised of $150,000 goal
 
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