Celebrating Womanhood

Celebrating Womanhood! Educating the Girl Beneficiaries from Community Centres on Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene 

A cross-sectional study was carried out using pre-tested proforma during the period of 1st June to 31th August 2017 by “National Centre for Biotechnology Information” in an urban slum area. Among the 100 adolescent girls, 72% were between 15 and 19 years. 27% girls had menarche at 14 years and 82% had regular cycles. About 76% had no knowledge of menses before menarche. About 60% girls used sanitary pad and the rest used cloth pieces. About 22% used water and no soap for hand washing. Multiple restrictions were practiced.

Menstruation and menstrual practices are still clouded by taboos and socio-cultural restrictions resulting in adolescent girls remaining uneducated of the scientific facts and hygienic health practices, which sometimes result in adverse health outcomes. Hygiene during menstruation is an inevitable part of woman’s life. 

It’s a given that many girl children in India especially from the low-income communities’ face socio-cultural aspects of menstruation and are expected to adhere to the traditional norms and practices which makes it a challenge for them to lead a normal life during the cycle. 

To educate and empower girl children on menstrual hygiene, Bhumi took this forward to our after-school community centres. 42 children from 14 community centres (namely, Decaster Road, Aaduthotti, Ambedkar Nagar, Harinarayanapuram, Kannigapuram 2, Srinivasapuram 1, Srinivasapuram 2, Nagalkeni, Godhamedu, Koyambedu, MS Muthu Nagar, KM Garden, ICF, PK Colony) participated in sessions of three facilitated by Ms. Latha Soundararajan and Ms. Hemavathy Venkatesh from CGI (one of our corporate partners). Children were taught scientific facts and theories behind menstruation and practices on how to use sanitary napkins and methods to dispose them. The Children also were made aware of acupressure techniques, self-massages in the abdomen area using a warm towel/bottle, feasible home remedies and relaxing exercises to combat the afflictions/discomfort caused by menstruation. 

I am Saranya of 8th grade and I’m a beneficiary of Bhumi’s after school community centres. The facilitators taught me about menstruation which was very helpful for me. I learnt about the whole process of menstruation and understood why everything happens. I also learnt well to handle myself during these times and few methods to overcome the pain caused. The exercises and acupressure techniques taught were very helpful for me during periods. It was very helpful to know about handling menstrual products and ways to dispose of them.”

“I am S Keerthana, Tutor of Harinarayanapuram Centre. In the menstrual health session, the topics that were taken were very useful to each and every one of the girl students. All the students had different questions on their own and the facilitators had answered all their clarifications and queries. During the menstruation time what one has to do and not do was also very useful. Sometimes the pain gets excruciating and the tips and techniques such as Acupressure or laying down on the floor in a particular position to relieve the distress was very informative. 

As the famous quote goes “Menstruation is not a problem, poor menstrual hygiene is”. We sincerely thank the facilitators for taking the effort of educating the children on the do’s/don’ts during the Menstruation cycle and helping them break the myths to take better care of themselves. We look forward to supporting our beneficiaries in more such informative and functional life sessions. 

Bhumi’s Ignite Programme in urban slums, supported by corporates like L&T, DXC Technology, and Maveric, looks at building sustainable communities with education as the focal point.

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