Partner | Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre
Location | West Bengal, India
In India, young girls and adolescent women often grow up with limited knowledge of why they have periods because their mothers and other women shy away from discussing the issue with them. Menstruation is a taboo subject in many parts of India and historically has been associated with uncleanliness, impurity, shame, and fear.
For many girls in rural areas, having their period is a reason to quit school due to the lack of facilities and appropriate sanitary products. This results in irreversible effects on their personal development, economic status, and their health.
This project targets rural women and girls in three districts in West Bengal, with the distribution of free sanitary pads and menstrual health education and awareness training. Other beneficiaries of this project are the many vulnerable women and girls living in the red-light district in Sonagachi, Kolkata.
With support from the Raskob Foundation this year, the Landing Pad project is able to increase its sanitary pad production to over 15,000 pads by purchasing additional machinery and raw materials.
A recent survey conducted by the KMWSC found that approximately 62% of adolescent girls do not use sanitary pads during their menstrual cycle. Young girls often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation as a biological process. As a result, only 13% of girls are aware of menstruation before their first period which leads to high rates of school absenteeism and dropouts.
In rural India, many women and girls use unsanitary materials such as old rags, husks, dried leaves, grass, ash, sand, or newspapers as ‘sanitary pads’ because they do not have access to affordable, hygienic and safe products.
This project aims to provide sanitary pads to more than 5,000 vulnerable women and girls; deliver training on the effective use of sanitary pads; and educate women, girls, and men on health, hygiene, and menstruation.
The success of this project will see girls empowered through the elimination of social taboos surrounding menstruation, thereby increasing the number of girls attending school who would otherwise stay at home during menstruation.
The Landing Pad project looks to pave the path for future innovative programs regarding female reproductive health. However, some immediate issues regarding menstrual hygiene and menstrual health need to be addressed now, and the success of this new project is an essential first step.
Produce more than 15,000 sanitary pads at the KMWSC production centre – this increase in production is made possible with the purchase of five additional pad-making machines.
Maintain the health and hygiene of 5,000 girls and women through the production and distribution of sanitary pads.
Provide health education at schools and in the community that discusses subjects such as sanitary hygiene; proper use and disposal of sanitary pads; and understanding the menstrual cycle to break down negative taboos.
Distribute free sanitary pads to girls and women in vulnerable communities