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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

24,24,98,327Cases
20,40,54,102Active
3,35,14,449Recovered
49,29,776Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,24,98,327 and 49,29,776 have died; 20,40,54,102 are active cases and 3,35,14,449 have recovered as on October 22, 2021 at 5:24 am.

India

3,41,43,236 15,786Cases
1,75,7453,086Active
3,35,14,449 18,641Recovered
4,53,042 231Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,43,236 confirmed cases including 4,53,042 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,75,745 and 3,35,14,449 have recovered as on October 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,98,218 1,573

27,899 1,434

64,30,394 2,968

1,39,925 39

Kerala

48,88,523 8,733

82,093 1,240

47,79,228 9,855

27,202 118

Karnataka

29,84,849 365

9,017 86

29,37,848 443

37,984 8

Tamil Nadu

26,91,797 1,164

13,790 268

26,42,039 1,412

35,968 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,62,303 493

5,500 66

20,42,476 552

14,327 7

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,068 10

107 5

16,87,062 14

22,899 1

West Bengal

15,83,646 833

7,535 44

15,57,090 775

19,021 14

Delhi

14,39,488 22

311 1

14,14,087 21

25,090

Odisha

10,37,056 524

4,336 51

10,24,422 573

8,298 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,773 38

206 21

9,91,995 16

13,572 1

Rajasthan

9,54,395 2

36 2

9,45,405 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,353 13

156 20

8,16,110 33

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,721 12

88 6

7,82,110 6

10,523

Haryana

7,71,125 9

131 2

7,60,945 11

10,049

Bihar

7,26,042 6

30 0

7,16,351 6

9,661

Telangana

6,69,739 183

3,967 1

6,61,829 183

3,943 1

Assam

6,07,811 384

3,762 152

5,98,087 228

5,962 4

Punjab

6,02,135 22

226 6

5,85,358 27

16,551 1

Jharkhand

3,48,526 40

166 24

3,43,225 16

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,787 14

176 0

3,36,213 14

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,386 87

814 14

3,26,143 73

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,138 202

1,452 58

2,16,955 140

3,731 4

Goa

1,77,765 59

618 21

1,73,790 35

3,357 3

Puducherry

1,27,564 43

454 7

1,25,258 50

1,852

Manipur

1,23,051 81

1,346 14

1,19,800 94

1,905 1

Mizoram

1,15,944 737

10,034 229

1,05,510 962

400 4

Tripura

84,369 18

105 10

83,448 8

816

Meghalaya

83,210 52

735 26

81,034 76

1,441 2

Chandigarh

65,315 3

26 2

64,469 1

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,065 22

140 2

54,645 20

280

Sikkim

31,819 19

185 10

31,241 9

393

Nagaland

31,670 11

250 5

30,743 15

677 1

Ladakh

20,896 10

43 9

20,645 1

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,678 2

4 2

10,670

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

7 0

7,510

129

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