Neha*, an 18 year old died in Baram, Assam on 23rd April 2017 because parasites had eaten away her intestines. Doctors said the parasites entered her body through the cloth she was using during her periods.
As a student of social work I was saddened and shocked. I believe that timely knowledge about hygienic habits to practice and products to use during periods could have saved Neha.
But sadly the silence surrounding the taboo subject of menstruation bars access to such life-saving information for lakhs of girls. The superstitions and awkwardness associated with periods stop girls from washing and drying cloth pads in the sun. This leads to life-threatening infections, like in Neha’s case.
I find this silence odd and ironic in a land like Assam because my state has a culture of worshipping menstruating goddesses, and some communities even celebrate a girl’s first period.
I want to end this silence and make quality menstrual healthcare accessible to every girl in my state.
Sign my petition. I’m asking the Government of Assam to
- install sanitary napkin vending machines in all government schools beginning with capital Guwahati
I believe that this government can be motivated to implementing my idea as a pilot project as it had announced a stipend for girls from underprivileged background to buy sanitary napkins in its 2018 state budget. This shows its willingness to focus on menstrual health of teenage girls.
However, while the stipend to buy pads was a welcome move, the government hasn’t accounted for the fact that a majority of girls feel shy about asking for a sanitary napkin and don’t know how to use it.
A sanitary napkin vending machine in all schools will enable all girls to access and use pads correctly and without any awkwardness.
Sign my petition to secure every girl’s right to #BleedWithDignity.
(*Name changed to protect identity)