New Delhi: The journey of change that began exactly a year ago on May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day, has achieved its first goal, which is to procure 5,000 packets of sanitary napkins. Initiated with an aim to uplift rural women and girls with the help of urban women, Nischay, an NGO in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, started ‘Mission 5,000’ in April 2018. The sole purpose of Mission 5,000 was to collect sanitary napkins from citizens and open PadBanks in 50 government schools.
Within a year, the team not only managed to collect over 5,000 packets of sanitary napkins, but set up PadBanks in two government schools. While speaking to NDTV about the launch of PadBanks, 32-year-old Poonam Maahanand, founder of Nischay says,
Our first goal was to collect sanitary napkins, which has been achieved. Utilising the sanitary napkins collected in a year, on Menstrual Hygiene Day, we opened up two PadBanks in two different government schools in Jamshedpur. The plan is to cover 50 government schools by June. Also, the collection and awareness drive will continue.
Sharing details on setting up PadBanks and how sanitary pads will be distributed among girls, Tarun Kumar, Secretary, Nischay, says,
Initially we planned to provide a monthly pack of sanitary napkins at a minimal cost of Rs. 10-15. But, now to promote menstrual hygiene among rural women and girls, we have decided to give it for free.
Each PadBank will consist of 100 pads and every month the stock of the PadBanks will be replenished. Anytime, any girl can visit the PadBank established in her school and collect a pad.
Say, a girl starts menstruating while she is in school and she is not carrying a pad with her. In such situations, she can take a pad from the PadBank for free, tells Poonam.
Once the PadBanks gain momentum and acceptance, the pads will be sold at a very low cost. The idea behind this is to establish a sense of responsibility and understanding among girls. The aim is to make a girl save Rs. 10-15 for a monthly pack of sanitary napkins, for their health.
On the same lines, during the launch, a short film titled ‘The Best Gift’ was released. The film portrayed how a girl broke her piggy bank to gift sanitary napkins to her friend.
We want to instill the same kind of behavior among girls. Usually, girls save money for internet, make-up, or some other thing. We want them to save some money for their health, signs off Poonam.
Having started the process of establishing PadBanks, the aim of Nischay is to provide better menstrual hygiene to each and every woman and girl of Jamshedpur. With this, Poonam also wishes to install a sanitary napkin manufacturing unit to produce low-cost sanitary napkins and provide employment to rural women.