THE PROBLEM OF MENSTRUATION:
Only 15% of India’s menstruating women use sanitary napkins.
66% of girls are unaware of menstruation before their first period.
70% women think menstrual blood is dirty.
66% of girls and women manage periods without toilets.
Over 85% of women who menstruate use unsafe materials, resort to shocking alternatives like unsanitized cloth, ashes and husk, sand and leaves.
Over 23% of girls dropout of school completely after reaching puberty. (As per study conducted by Dasra and Forbes Marshall)
The woman of today has achieved great success in every imaginable facet of life. Even in such an environment, menstruation remains an area of acute concern where women empowerment is still a pipe dream. One of the immediate challenges being faced in today’s world is the achievement of universal access to one of the most basic of human rights, ‘Safe and secure sanitation’.
We are still long way off from fighting cultural and religious taboos and an environment where sanitary napkins are deemed a luxury. The social and cultural connotation over the years on menstruation has restricted women and especially adolescent girls mobility in society. Menstruation is a natural human process. Nevertheless, 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. Many are left to manage their periods in an unsafe manner using old rags, leaves and other unhygienic and ineffective materials resulting in diseases, sometimes as grave as cervical cancer. It is important to note that India accounts for 27% of the world’s cervical cancer deaths. The problem is further exacerbated by limited access to hygienic products, safe and private sanitation facilities, consistent supply of water for personal hygiene and adequate disposal options.
A girl menstruates on an average for five days a month and the cycle carries on till she reaches menopause. Periods are normal and healthy, yet many girls across India struggle to manage this monthly occurrence. When a girl faces obstacles in managing her menses in a healthy way, she is at risk of infection, her self-esteem and self-confidence suffer, she may remain absent from school during her period or worse still, dropout of school altogether upon reaching puberty. Over time, these negative effects add up, preventing a young girl from achieving her full potential and having a healthy productive life. The denial of safe sanitation has been observed as one of the prime gender inequalities being faced by most women and girls.
As per the latest study, “Sanitary Protection: Every Women’s Health Right”, undertaken by AC Nielsen, affordability is the biggest barrier to using a sanitary napkin. Around 70% of women in India say their family can’t afford to buy them.
THE SANITARY PAD BANK:
The lack of access to Sanitary Pads is truly appalling, no matter what the reason. There are thousands of women in need of effective menstrual products, basic items we consider a necessity. Together we can help make a difference in these women’s lives The SANITARY PAD BANK is an unique initiative by TEE Foundation, to ensure sanitary pads reach the needy and at the same time it invokes the involvement of the populace to create a self-sustaining system.
The Sanitary Pad Bank is a simple idea and within this simplicity lies its inherent brilliance. The initiative aims to become a bridge, between donors, volunteers and those in need. Donors can donate either money or sanitary pads itself and we’ll make sure, it reaches those in need for the same. Anyone interested in associating with us on this project can visit the support us page to know more.
Together, we can overcome the taboo of menstruation while ensuring sanitary products reach to those most in need.