Maa…I am scared. What should I do now?

Maa, I am scared. Whispered an anxious teenager to her mother. Our motherland has borne strong women since ages and yet, our little girls are traumatised due to their monthly cycle. Young girls in villages and cities alike, are in dilemma while dealing with adolescence and the natural changes that accompany it. There isn’t enough awareness regarding sanitisation and hygiene.  Menstruation leading to long absenteeism from school among adolescent girls is a common phenomenon across the world. Menstruation in most countries is associated with various myths and restrictions leading to lack of awareness among adolescent girls, who due to the anxiety and shame associated with the entire process shy away from seeking correct measures.  Many shy away due to the fear of being looked down upon or being shunned as ‘impure’ for a process that is natural (read biological) and inevitable. Our patriarchal society has several rules for women, we have always been on the receiving side. ‘impure women’ aren’t allowed to enter the holy institutions or be a part of daily chores in their own houses; they bear the humiliation for a process which is but natural. Even today, many women in India do not have access to sanitary napkins and are ostracised during ‘those’ few days of the month. Most girls both in urban and rural settings adopt unhygienic practices leading to serious health hazards.

 

We feel lucky to be a part of a society, which has evolved and has successfully created a safe and hygienic place for the women through education and several awareness campaigns. We believe that it is our duty to give back to the society, the numerous benefits that we have received. The teachers of Empyrean School in Collaboration with Prerna (an NGO working with the less fortunate women of the society) conducted a workshop for adolescent girls of the NGO. The workshop focussed on creating awareness regarding menstrual hygiene and busting the myths associated with it. The teachers tried to address the questions raised by the girls about adolescence and the several physical changes that occur. The workshop was concluded by gifting daily essentials to the girls.

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