- NGO Nischay is providing sanitary pads to girls of East Singhbhum district
- NGO Nischay has provided sanitary pads to over 2,500 girls in 80 villages
- NGO raised Rs. 40,000 through crowd funding to address the demand
New Delhi: On March 24, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21 days nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, he clearly stated that essential services like grocery stores, and pharmacy will continue to function. The order might have been true for urban areas but in rural areas especially small villages have a different story to tell. Because of the lockdown, 18-year-old Laxmi from Jaskandih village in East Singhbhum district of Jamshedpur, couldn’t purchase sanitary napkins.
In our village, we don’t have many shops to buy essentials. Also, because of the lockdown, I couldn’t go outside. While the supply of groceries was being taken care of by our teachers, sanitary napkins were ignored by all, recalled Laxmi.
In April, when Laxmi needed sanitary napkins, she contacted her school teacher and raised the issue. Laxmi’s teacher then reached out to Tarun Kumar, Secretary, Nischay, a Jamshedpur based organisation that works for women, children and rural development, and requested for a solution to the problem of Laxmi and a thousand other girls like her.
The nation was and is under a lockdown but periods, a regular monthly cycle can’t be put under any lockdown. It’s natural and a girl will get it every month. With lockdown, girls started to face the problem and I started getting calls from different villages, even the ones where we have not worked yet. It had taken us months to make these girls understand the importance of using sanitary napkins instead of cloth and now telling them that they can’t get sanitary napkins was not a choice, said Mr Kumar while speaking to NDTV.
Mr Kumar along with his friends pooled in money, procured sanitary napkins and addressed the immediate need. But Mr Kumar knew that the nation is in for a long haul and resolving the problem at hand won’t solve the issue of lack of availability of sanitary napkins.
It is then Mr Kumar along with one of his friends initiated a crowd funding campaign to provide sanitary napkins to 1,000 girls. Sharing details of the campaign, Mr Kumar said,
On April 12, we started the fund raising campaign, asking people to donate Rs. 30 and surprisingly, within 36 hours, we managed to raise Rs. 40,000.
Mr Kumar along his team of volunteers spread across 11 blocks started the distribution of sanitary napkins the very next day and as of now the team has reached out to over 2,500 girls in around 80 villages.
Sharing her experience of working with Mr Kumar and helping girls get access to something as basic as sanitary napkins, Anshu Kumari from Kalimati Mahulia village in Ghatshila said,
Shipra ma’am, my mother’s colleague told me about Mr Kumar and his initiative. Since I do surveys in our village, she asked me to conduct one such survey and make a list of the girls in need of sanitary napkins amid lockdown. After the local survey, I received dozens of sanitary pads to be distributed among 108 girls. The more I meet these girls, educated them about using sanitary napkins, and went door-to-door, the more I feel devoting myself to this noble cause.
Talking about how the team managed to venture out of their house during lockdown, Mr Kumar informed that the team had got e-pass from the district administration.
While distributing sanitary napkins, the team is also creating awareness around the novel coronavirus. The team gives a lesson on handwashing, wearing a mask at all times, practising social distancing and other things.