Letter Campaign by the 1000 adolescent girls to Chief Minister of Karnataka to provide Sanitary Pads to the poor girls in the villages: “Improving Menstrual health and hygiene for women and girls” …Vimukti Pothnal

Menstrual hygiene management is one of the neglected health and hygiene issues surrounding the rights of vulnerable adolescent girls in Manvi taluka. For hundreds of these adolescent girls living in the villages, natural monthly occurrence is disruptive. Adolescent girls in our targeted villages often deal with the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products or if they are available the Sharp rise in the price of sanitary pads makes it impossible to buy due to poverty. Stigma and period poverty has a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable women and girls in our village, who often must resort to using unhygienic alternatives such as using old unhygienic clothes as sanitary pads. This causes discomfort that can increase their risk of infections- especially since they are often washed without detergents and dried indoors, out of shame and fear of superstitions related to menstruation. Without improved hygiene behavior such as handwashing with soap and water after changing used clothes and Sanitary napkins it will be challenging for women and adolescent girls to stay healthy during their menstrual cycle. Vimukti Staff nurse is committed to giving training on this in our health camps, distributing family hygiene kits to spread the messages to combat stigma. The adolescent girls were so happy to receive these training sessions in our health camps and many places’ girls have received sanitary pads, as it meant that they can have their periods without fear of embarrassment and they no longer had to stay in isolation at home and miss activities or school. SHRITHI who attended the health camp and participated in the training said,” I share a little torn towel with my younger sister during our menstruation because buying actual sanitary pads from the shops is very expensive and not available in the villages. Vimukti distributed sanitary pads during crucial times. In the past I used to feel bad each time I had my monthly period, I did not feel comfortable using unhygienic rugs they are not comfortable, nor are they effective, and they can lead to very serious health concerns, with free disposable sanitary pads provided, I can safely manage my health, I can now openly talk about menstruation and the sanitary pads. I feel confident and empowered.” Nealy thousand adolescent girls came together and motivated their peer group discussed in their schools and demanded the Chief Minister of Karnataka through a letter campaign.

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