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

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 Happy Women's Day: With schools being shut, distribution of sanitary pads from schools also came to halt compelling many girls to opt unhygienic methods during menstruation
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

19,78,31,904Cases
6,39,24,968Active
12,96,89,916Recovered
42,17,020Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,78,31,904 and 42,17,020 have died; 6,39,24,968 are active cases and 12,96,89,916 have recovered as on August 1, 2021 at 3:55 am.

India

3,16,55,824 41,831Cases
4,10,952 2,032Active
3,08,20,521 39,258Recovered
4,24,351 541Deaths
In India, there are 3,16,55,824 confirmed cases including 4,24,351 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,10,952 and 3,08,20,521 have recovered as on August 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

63,03,715 6,959

80,138 733

60,90,786 7,467

1,32,791 225

Kerala

33,90,761 20,624

1,65,011 3,679

32,08,969 16,865

16,781 80

Karnataka

29,05,124 1,987

23,820 318

28,44,742 1,632

36,562 37

Tamil Nadu

25,59,597 1,986

20,716 218

25,04,805 2,178

34,076 26

Andhra Pradesh

19,66,175 2,058

21,180 18

19,31,618 2,053

13,377 23

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,441 31

712 17

16,84,973 48

22,756

West Bengal

15,28,019 769

11,113 58

14,98,770 819

18,136 8

Delhi

14,36,265 58

581 1

14,10,631 56

25,053 1

Chhattisgarh

10,02,008 102

1,863 102

9,86,621 203

13,524 1

Odisha

9,77,268 1,578

14,538 389

9,56,828 1,899

5,902 68

Rajasthan

9,53,667 17

248 6

9,44,465 22

8,954 1

Gujarat

8,24,877 27

252 8

8,14,549 35

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,828 22

122 1

7,81,193 21

10,513

Haryana

7,69,913 29

712 0

7,59,566 27

9,635 2

Bihar

7,24,835 44

457 1

7,14,735 45

9,643

Telangana

6,44,951 621

9,069 72

6,32,080 691

3,802 2

Punjab

5,99,104 51

534 10

5,82,277 60

16,293 1

Assam

5,66,198 989

13,322 510

5,47,616 1,480

5,260 19

Jharkhand

3,47,173 36

252 8

3,41,793 44

5,128

Uttarakhand

3,42,139 116

632 13

3,34,145 129

7,362

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,462 118

1,176 5

3,15,908 113

4,378

Himachal Pradesh

2,06,027 153

1,217 80

2,01,289 72

3,521 1

Goa

1,71,146 94

1,058 35

1,66,941 128

3,147 1

Puducherry

1,20,915 100

962 17

1,18,158 115

1,795 2

Manipur

98,499 801

10,540 195

86,403 981

1,556 15

Tripura

78,583 222

3,482 2

74,346 224

755

Meghalaya

65,000 686

5,966 175

57,949 499

1,085 12

Chandigarh

61,953 1

31 5

61,111 5

811 1

Arunachal Pradesh

48,122 266

3,954 188

43,939 451

229 3

Mizoram

38,925 861

12,388 213

26,387 643

150 5

Nagaland

27,872 159

1,329 55

25,977 99

566 5

Sikkim

26,548 237

3,400 98

22,804 137

344 2

Ladakh

20,338 10

56 6

20,075 4

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,650 6

29 1

10,617 7

4

Lakshadweep

10,189 11

84 7

10,055 4

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,537 2

8 0

7,400 2

129

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