At Saral Designs we have one primary focus in mind- to make sure that one day each woman has access to the right products during her periods. As a nation, we are far from that goal right now. Only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women have access to the right products. The 88% women who do not have access to the right products resort to unsanitary means such as cloth and husk sand. The biggest barrier for them is affordability. And our experience has shown that often when a product is unaffordable, there are a lot of myths surrounding the use of the product. This compounded by the fact that periods is already a taboo topic makes our job difficult, if not unsurmountable. We are here to change the conversation, speak scientifically about our bodies, and make sure that we are constantly moving towards a situation where every woman has access to a period pad and uses it without apprehension.
23% of the girls drop out of school when they start their periods. This is something we are pushing to change as well. The more girls that drop out of school, the less we are able to affect mindsets and move towards a more equitable society. So this definitely needs to change. We take small steps towards it, for example by Suvidha our sanitary napkin vending machine that allows for girls to have access to sanitary pads even in school.
But we realise that the first step towards changing any of this is to start by changing the conversation. Keeping this in mind, we held activities over the span of three days from 25th-27th May in Karjat, Maharashtra to connect with women who have not had access to resources so far or have been subject to taboos that can have crippling effect on their health. This was a part of our effort to do something meaningful for Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Each day around 70 women participated in our activities. Our activities were designed to involve them in getting a conversation started around periods, “educate” them about the right products and the right and get them to burst the myths that have surrounded conversations around periods in their communities. We decided to create awareness by the means of games.
We made them blow baloons and then think of the things that are bothering them..we made them burst the baloons (as a symbol of forgetting their miseries and enjoying, many women are often crippled by their troubles and have stopped being carefree). For us, any significant conversation starts with a happy state of mind.
We made them play Chinese whisper. At the end of it, like most times with this game, they got their phrase wrong. This was an attempt to show them how period myths propagate and inaccurate stories spread.
The last game was that of passing the parcel. The box had a period related question. If you get it right, you get a gift. Questions were testing their knowledge on myths, and general knowledge based on biology of periods.
We also had FAQs around access, affordability, safe disposal and other things.
We are still growing and our attempts are a step in the direction of our goals. If you want to get involved or want to buy our products, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +91-9029330401. You can also purchase our products at the following e-commerce websites: Amazon, Shopclues, Ebay
This Menstrual Hygiene Day let’s strive to create a better future where girls don’t need to drop out of schools due to periods and women don’t need to be crippled due to lack of access or not knowing the right information.