‘Daughters of Versova’, is a pioneering initiative by TEE Foundation, to tackle the health, hygiene and welfare issues of women and girls in the Versova constituency.
The initiative encompasses numerous schemes, as under:
a) Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyaan:
According to census data, the child sex ratio (0–6 years) in India was 927 girls per 1,000 boys in 2001, which dropped to 918 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011. The archaic social mindset of favouring the male child is the primary reason. What is more appalling is the depths to which people can fall to avoid the girl child. Female foeticide is rampant in many parts of India and despite the best of efforts, the problem is still a long way off from ceasing.
Beti Bachao Abhiyaan is Tee Foundation’s effort to make a difference in this direction. The foundation makes every possible effort to sensitize people regarding the issue and the detrimental consequences it can have on our society. The program also tries to ensure that the new-born girl child is well looked after. In fact, Dr. Bharati Lavekar, despite her busy schedule, makes it a point to meet every family in her constituency, where a girl child is born to congratulate and felicitate the family.
b) Tackling the Problem of Menstrual Hygiene:
Menstruation is a natural human process, nevertheless, it is still treated as a taboo in countless cultures and societies across the globe. A profound silence around the topic combined with lack of access to information results in girls and women possessing very little understanding of their own bodies.
The universal perception on menstruation being posed as an embarrassment, has pushed women to adopt practices that are unhygienic, unhealthy and even pose a threat to their lives.
Tee Foundation has tried to break down what it takes for a girl to manage her periods in a healthy way, that respects and upholds her dignity and privacy. We need hardware and software and a conducive environment that supports these elements while empowering girls. Software includes information about favourable social norms and healthy attitudes towards menstruation. A girl needs to know why she has periods and what is happening to her body when she menstruates. She needs to be aware of the range of safe and hygienic menstrual absorbents available, both reusable and disposable . The hardware includes adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (wash) facilities (including disposal system) and safe-hygienic materials to absorb menstrual blood.
To tackle the issue or menstrual health and hygiene, the foundation has undertaken numerous activities, which include:
- Free Distribution of Sanitary Napkins to underprivileged women and girls.
- Installation of Sanitary Pad ATM’s and Disposal Machines.
The Automatic Sanitary Pad Vending Machine is one of the many activities being carried out by the TEE Foundation to promote sanitary hygiene. The ATM Machines are installed at places frequented by women and girls. Prepaid Smart Cards are issued and they can be used to withdraw a monthly quota of sanitary napkins from the machine.
In addition to the vending machine, the foundation has also install napkin disposal machines to ensure safe disposal of used napkins and avoid any environmental or health hazards.
This is especially important, considering the taboos associated with menstruation in our society.
- Distribution of Free Menstrual Health kits to girl students.
- Promotion of hygiene practices among adolescent girls through seminars in schools and slum areas.
- Seminars with experts to promote awareness in the issue and its solutions.
- Counseling and support for girls on menstrual hygiene as part of life skills package.
- Promotion awareness on the issue across various digital and traditional media.