A rich history that defines the glory of women has now become a question on her existence. Women, who were referred as the reflection of goddess are now the targets of menstrual criticism from the society. However, there are a few people who are working to change this perception of the society.
In 2016, when 39-year-old Geeta Bora visited India from the US for a long vacation, she decided to explore the country. She met a woman during that time, who invited Geeta to her place. Just after four days, when Geeta visited her, she was surprised to know that the woman was no more. But what could have been the reason?
After enquiring from the locals, Geeta came to know that instead of using a sanitary napkin during her periods, the woman had used a blouse, as she could not afford a pad. She was infected by the metal hook of the blouse, leading to her death. Geeta was distressed by the backwardness of the society relating to menstrual hygiene.
Driven by modern thoughts and the confidence to bring in a change, this one instance proved as a reason for Geeta to create better circumstances for women. She decided to rule the new word of cheap sanitary napkins to initiate a change.
Laying new definition of menstrual hygiene
Geeta started with the Spherule Foundation, an initiative that aims at bringing sustainable change in people’s lives and create equality in the society. The NGO has introduced projects like Women Empowerment And Entrepreneurship Program (WEEP), School Menstrual Hygiene Program (SMHP), and Moontime, a book for girls to break taboos and myths on menstruation.
The NGO works on spreading awareness and educating women in rural areas about menstrual hygiene. They also have a segment where they send a representative in every area to spread the word. Geeta realized that the prime reason behind women denying the use of sanitary pads is the cost factor, as these women are unable to arrange even a day’s meal.
To solve this problem, the NGO started providing low cost sanitary pads called Stri. The napkins are provided to financially underprivileged women who are charged a nominal amount of Rs 300 for an entire year’s supply. Till date, the organization has sold 6,000 sanitary packs and distributed 13,000 packs for free.
A long journey to be covered
“When I interact with girls residing in slum areas, I come across dozens of myths they live by. They have too many queries and questions. Sometimes, even I fail to solve their doubts,” says Geeta. To answer all their questions and break the myths associated with menstruation, the organization is coming up with a book called Moon Time.
Geeta worked in the US for eight years as a software architect. But she left her cushy job and chose an option that will help thousands of lives. “I dream of a future where menstruation is not considered as a taboo, but welcomed as a transition into womanhood. So many people are working towards spreading the message of menstrual hygiene, but still a lot needs to be done and for that we all need to come together and start a sanitary revolution,” she says.
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