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Women’s Day 2021: Adolescent Girls In Varanasi Slums Overcome Lack Of Sanitary Pads During COVID-19 lockdown 

Varanasi’s Diksha and Deepika risked their health to ensure every girl in their community has access to menstrual hygiene during the COVID-19 lockdown

Adolescent Girls In Varanasi Slums Overcome Lack Of Sanitary Pads During COVID-19 lockdown 
Highlights
  • Amid COVID-19, underprivileged girls faced major issues in accessing pads
  • Varanasi’s Diksha & Deepika ensured pads to girls in need through WhatsApp
  • They also manufactured their own pads and distributed door-to-door

New Delhi: The pandemic has impacted lives of adolescent girls in many ways. Situation was considerably hard, for those girls who were from the underprivileged background. The nationwide lockdown imposed to prevent COVID-19 in the country, only made lives of these girls tougher. While, maximum focus of the relief work during pandemic was on providing food and medical support, sanitary pads was one basic necessity that could get much focus.

With schools being shut, distribution of sanitary pads from schools also came to halt compelling many girls to opt unhygienic methods during menstruation.

However, there were 2 social workers from Varanasi who introduced innovative ideas through mobile apps to extend helping hands and support to hundreds of adolescent girls from underprivileged background during pandemic.

Also Read: Here’s How France, New Zealand And Scotland Are Aiming To Eliminate Period Poverty And What Can India Do

Deeksha Singh and Deepika Bhattacharya, who work in the slums of Varanasi city in collaboration with Child Rights and You (CRY)’s partner organisation – Dr Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation, became hope for many adolescent girls during their toughest times amid the pandemic.

As the underprivileged families were facing massive financial crisis during pandemic, buying sanitary pads for girls at home was the last thing to be thought about. This led to major mental stress for many girls in the slum areas where the duo worked.

Adolescent Girls In Varanasi Slums Overcome Lack Of Sanitary Pads During COVID-19 lockdown 


As the underprivileged families were facing massive financial crisis during COVID-19 pandemic, girls majorly suffered in managing their menstruation

Deeksha and Deepika not only distributed sanitary pads to the adolescent girls door to door amidst the fear of pandemic, but also worked vigorously on the adolescent health through a WhatsApp group called “Shaktipari Whatsapp Group”. The members of the group were adolescent girls from the project area where they work.

While distributing pads door to door we realised these girls were going through a lot during pandemic. Especially, when it came to menstrual hygiene, their situation was heartbreaking. It took us years to sensitise the community and make girls and women aware of using sanitary pads in periods but disruption in the supply of pads compelled these girls to use unhygienic means, Diksha told NDTV.

Also, they were facing a lot of other issues and we realised it was important to connect with them on regular basis to get to know about their issues and finding solutions for them, shared Deepika and added,

Thus, we decided to connect with as much girls as we can through WhatsApp.

Also Read: How Did A Jharkhand District End Up Growing 5,000 Trees Through An Initiative To Promote Safe Use Of Sanitary Pads?

As they were in constant touch with the adolescent girls, they realised financial crisis was a major challenge and buying sanitary pads from market cannot be an affordable option for these girls.

This compelled Diksha and Deepika to think beyond their limitation and they decided to manufacture their own version of sanitary pad, that can be recycled.

We had a few samples of such sanitary pads made of cloth in stock. These pads were provided to us by CRY a year ago and only a few samples were left. We thoroughly analysed these samples to understand how they were made and decided to manufacture our own version of recyclable pads. We collected clean cotton cloths and other things that were needed to stitch pads and distributed it door to door during lockdown. Interestingly, we received good feedback from girls regarding the pads that we made, said Diksha.

However, not every child in their project area had mobile phone and internet. To bridge this gap, Diksha and Deepika started community mobilisation and convinced those people who had smartphones in the slums to give it to the girls who want to attend online classes for an hour so that their studies are not discontinued.

Adolescent Girls In Varanasi Slums Overcome Lack Of Sanitary Pads During COVID-19 lockdown 

Diksha and Deepika went beyond their limitations and decided to manufacture their own version of sanitary pad

Despite their family being concerned about their health amid the pandemic, these 2 young women decided to reach out to those in need ignoring the risk to their own health. Thus, changing the disaster into an opportunity. The sanitary pads are now being used and even made by many adolescents’ girls by their own. Online counselling provided by them to young girls helped many adolescents to overcome psychological pressure.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

26,21,50,955Cases
22,29,25,306Active
3,40,18,299Recovered
52,07,350Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,21,50,955 and 52,07,350 have died; 22,29,25,306 are active cases and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 3:50 am.

India

3,45,87,822 6,990Cases
1,00,5433,316Active
3,40,18,299 10,116Recovered
4,68,980 190Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,87,822 confirmed cases including 4,68,980 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,00,543 and 3,40,18,299 have recovered as on November 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,34,980 536

11,525 338

64,82,493 853

1,40,962 21

Kerala

51,37,091 3,382

45,138 2,514

50,51,998 5,779

39,955 117

Karnataka

29,95,857 257

6,907 47

29,50,747 205

38,203 5

Tamil Nadu

27,26,197 730

8,291 46

26,81,434 767

36,472 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,725 101

2,102 38

20,56,184 138

14,439 1

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,387 5

86 3

16,87,391 2

22,910

West Bengal

16,15,378 511

7,733 71

15,88,172 571

19,473 11

Delhi

14,40,900 34

285 3

14,15,517 36

25,098 1

Odisha

10,48,880 197

2,165 26

10,38,306 221

8,409 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,779 16

318 12

9,92,868 28

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,770 12

187 12

9,45,628 24

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,435 27

262 22

8,17,081 49

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,150 12

126 4

7,82,496 8

10,528

Haryana

7,71,692 16

165 3

7,61,473 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,219 2

39 2

7,16,517 4

9,663

Telangana

6,75,798 184

3,581 46

6,68,227 137

3,990 1

Assam

6,16,708 140

2,595 96

6,08,015 230

6,098 6

Punjab

6,03,258 18

329 11

5,86,330 26

16,599 3

Jharkhand

3,49,232 11

95 2

3,43,997 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,227 8

132 44

3,36,687 51

7,408 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,681 150

1,626 32

3,30,579 181

4,476 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,093 90

824 29

2,22,422 61

3,847

Goa

1,78,890 24

276 3

1,75,230 19

3,384 2

Mizoram

1,34,810 437

3,805 95

1,30,512 531

493 1

Puducherry

1,28,893 12

296 16

1,26,725 28

1,872

Manipur

1,25,169 17

655 30

1,22,539 43

1,975 4

Tripura

84,791 4

78 8

83,890 10

823 2

Meghalaya

84,461 17

285 16

82,704 32

1,472 1

Chandigarh

65,456 8

58 4

64,578 4

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,273 4

35 2

54,958 2

280

Sikkim

32,233 5

121 6

31,709 11

403

Nagaland

32,109 9

140 5

31,273 4

696

Ladakh

21,540 12

250 18

21,076 29

214 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 4

10,319 4

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683 2

8 2

7,546

129

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