Mahatma Gandhi rightly remarked cleanliness is next only to godliness; ensuring high levels of personal hygiene goes a long way in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and enabling us to lead a happy and healthy life.
One of the major challenges faced by women in India (and most other developing countries) in maintaining a hygienic lifestyle is ensuring bodily cleanliness during the menstrual cycle. According to a study, nearly million children study in schools that lack proper sanitation services, and several hundred million women and girls across the world don’t have access to facilities that help them manage their menstruation.
The inability to manage menstruation has a profound negative impact on women and girl children because it results in the following.
- Fear and anxiety: The lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene leads to confusion and worry. A survey involving more than 100,000 adolescent girls in India showed nearly half of them were unaware of menstruation until they got their first period. The changes in their bodies during the menstrual cycle caused a lot of pain and anguish.
- Disruption to education: Many girls in India skip school during menstruation as their educational institutions are not equipped with proper sanitation facilities. This adversely affects their education, and with millions of female students facing the problem, it is indeed a matter of national concern.
- Issues of health: The lack of access to proper sanitation during the menstrual cycle leaves women and girls vulnerable to disease. There have been many cases of infections among menstruating women due to the use of materials such as newspapers and untidy cloth.
How can this problem be resolved?
The society needs to be empathetic to women and girls facing the above-mentioned problems. They need to be made aware that menstruation is a healthy and normal part of women’s lives and proper use of sanitary napkins will help overcome the challenges of hygiene during the menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, various social stigmas have prevented the spread of awareness about this issue. These taboos coupled with lack of access to sanitary care due to poverty prevent many women and adolescent girls from leading healthy lives.
So, what can be done to help these people? Can any one person or a corporate entity resolve the problems faced by all women and girls? The answer is no. But we can join hands to make at least some women aware of healthy practices and provide them with sanitary pads. And out of this belief was born Swachh Jeevan, Swaasth Jeevan, a campaign to raise awareness among underprivileged women and provide them sanitary napkins. At Solunus, we have partnered with Save the Child Foundation, Pennam Foundation and Kairos Technologies to provide 1000 sanitary packets to poor women and girls in Hyderabad slums.
Announcing the initiative, Sudhakar Pennam, the co-founder and CEO of Solunus Technologies said,” The problems faced by women and girls during menstruation can be easily prevented. While we may not be able to assist all financially-disadvantaged women, we earnestly believe we can create awareness among at least some and help them. Swachh Jeevan, Swaasth Jeevan is a collaborative effort, and together with our partners, we can certainly improve the condition of these people.”
The program will be held on 30 September 2022. Volunteers from Solunus and Kairos Technologies will travel in various slums and distribute sanitary pads. “I’m very happy many people from our company have come forward to take part in this noble initiative,” said Mr. Pennam. “I’d like to thank them for their efforts to help fellow members of the community. We will continue to work with various organizations to help the needy. So, keep an eye on our blog and social handles.”
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