The Indian government while announcing lockdown measures had allowed the sale of essential goods. However, the Jharkhand government left out sanitary napkins – an essential need for any girl and woman – from the list.
Under the central government programme Kishori Shakti Yojana, government school students of class six to class 12 receive sanitary napkins via their school administrations.
However, during the lockdown, girls who cannot afford these napkins and depend on schools for these amenities, have resorted to using pieces of cloth as a substitute to deal with menstruation.
Ever since the lockdown was imposed, grocery stores where girls can buy such products, have remained shut. Additionally, a loss of income for a myriad of families has led to many not being able to afford them.
Bandana Dubey, a social worker residing in the Godda village of Jharkhand, in her personal capacity, has distributed over 3,000 sanitary napkins as of last week of April after over a thousand girls approached her for a provision of sanitary pads.
“Everybody knows that 90 percent of girls in rural Jharkhand are deprived of sanitary napkins. It is through government schools that these young girls in the past two to three years have got into this habit of using sanitary pads. But this lockdown has forced them to use unhygienic materials that may cause leaking and infection, putting their health at serious risk,” Bandana said, as reported by News18.
Besides Bandana, NGO Nischay also has been working to address the menstrual hygiene concerns in other areas of the state.
Doing their bit to combat this prevalent issue, the NGO has distributed sanitary napkins to over 3,000 girls in the state’s Singhbum district. The distribution took place immediately after the announcement of the lockdown on March 24.
“Ever since lockdown 1.0, we began raising funds to donate napkins to these children. Since our NGO has pages on social media, we are easily reachable. Every time we get a call from a girl in need of sanitary pads, we urge her to ask around and find out if other girls need it too. We then ask volunteers to distribute these pads among the girls,” Tarun Kumar, the Founder of Nischay, told The Logical Indian.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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