Let’s Talk Menstruation!
Twenty-five-year-old Simren has always been convinced of the need to break the taboos that surround menstruation in India and has worked relentlessly to create awareness on the issue. Better menstrual hygiene promotes improved health status of women, in particular teenage girls, but women in rural areas lack convenient choices in the use of sanitary napkins. Many rural women typically use soiled pieces of cloth which is unhygienic and contributes to their poor health.
As a Youth for India Fellow, Simren worked along with Jatan Sansthan, an NGO in Udaipur, to bring about behaviour change in menstrual hygiene practices among tribal women in Khervara. She also helped promote income generation by training the women in the village, most of whom were wives of migrant workers, to make and sell eco-friendly, hand-made cloth sanitary napkins. The first batch of sanitary napkins was produced by 10 women. The women started by using a machine made available by Jatan Sansthan. Seeing the enthusiasm of the local community in adopting the changed behaviour, the village development committee as sanctioned a new sanitary pad machine so that more sanitary napkins can be produced for the women in the village.
Pull out quote: Every woman bleeds and it should not be a matter of shame. Every woman has the right to earn and she should not refrain.”
Simren Singh is from Dehradun. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi and completed an MA in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.