As per a health survey conducted in Rural parts of Maharashtra, school and college-going girls in the age-group of 11-19 skip school for 50-60 days in a year during their menstrual cycles, affecting both their health and academics
A 2016 report on sanitation facilities for women across India reveals that around 63 million adolescent girls live in homes without toilet facilities and 23% of girls drop out of school when they start menstruating. One of the leading factors for leaving school is the lack of toilets in their schools. The stigma around this natural biological process is so huge in India that one rarely even hears this word spoken out loud.
This alarming statistics has spurned a noble initiative – Karishmaa Care Sanitary Pads was launched on 28th May, Menstrual Hygiene Day, with an intention to provide free sanitary pads to rural girls and women in and around Maharashtra.
A project by Karishmaa Care Foundation, an NGO working towards upliftment of Rural women and girls in villages and slums, these pads are bio-degradable, eco-friendly, perfume-free and UV protected. These pads are made by women, for the women, in and outside Maharashtra, and will provide financial support to them. These pads will be donated to women and girls from Rural Maharashtra free of cost.
Karishmaa Care Pads is outsourced from women who manufacture them. The pads are purchased from various self help groups to financially support them after visiting their production units and verifying their licenses.
“During the past three years, we have been visiting hundreds of villages and schools in Beed Marathwada. We have been conducting our multiple charitable initiatives in Rural like food grain donations to drought affected areas of Marathwada, Notebooks and stationary donation to around ten thousand children supporting our 300 adopted/Sponsored girls in Beed,Tree plantations, Health Camps, counselling sessions and Project Kshakti which includes counselling and support to widows and Rural Women etc.
During various counselling session for rural women and girl child, I observed many girls didn’t attend school during their periods due to sanitation issues and had no money to buy sanitary pads leading to bad attendance. Many women too face multiple issues while working in farms and few of them had various health issues in the past due to improper hygiene and I Personally faced many issues during my visit to hundred plus villages and while travelling in interiors of Maharashtra. This is what gave birth to the idea for providing free sanitary pads to them”, explains Pune’s Padwoman, Neelam Tuteja, Founder & Managing Trustee.
“We visited the units of manufacturers. The pads are UV protected and packaging is done with utmost care with hand gloves. We will be involving few more units and financially support them in income generation until we set up our own unit soon. To procure these pads from the manufacturers we are seeking donations to meet the costs, so that the pads can be easily distributed to the 300 girls adopted by us, in Beed Marathawada, Jowhar and other villages and slums”, adds Tuteja.
“This is not a one time charity that we are doing. It will be on a continuous basis. Therefore, we need donations to be able to support this initiative”, sums up Tuteja.
No doubt, this will be a major leap in personal hygiene and care, as well as upliftment of rural girls! Undoubtedly a noble cause that should receive an overwhelming response from generous donors.
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