New Delhi: India is home to around 113 million adolescent girls, out of which 54% are unaware of menstruation before they have their first period, only 45% believe that menstruation is normal and 70% of mothers, who are girls’ main source of information, consider menstruation to be dirty and polluting. The end result is simple – bad menstrual practices leading to many life threating deaths. Our country accounts for 27% of the world’s cervical cancer deaths, which is almost twice the global average, and many doctors studying the disease say poor menstrual hygiene is partly to be blamed. This dark reality changed 20-year-old Manushi Chhillar’s mindset, who was announced the winner at the 54th Femina Miss India World 2017 held at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai on Sunday night.
In an interview to IANS, Manushi Chhillar who is born and brought up in Haryana said, “The poor menstrual management in our country and across the world has always bothered me as a person. That’s one cause that I will take forward with me.”
Coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, Manushi Chhillar who herself is studying medicine, started an initiative Project Shakti in order to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene as that’s one cause she really associates with.
Do you know around 23% girls in India quit school after they start menstruating! Today on menstrual hygiene day let us take a pledge to empower women by making them feel confident about their bodies. #ProjectShakti #MainHunShakti #beautywithapurpose #menstrualhygieneday #missindia2017 #ManushiChhillar
She strongly believes in this initiative and describes it as her life’s mission.
“I feel it is a very basic factor that is inculcated in every woman. I started a project called Project Shakti and through that, I educated women about menstrual hygiene as that’s one cause I really feel for,” added Manushi Chhillar.
Talking about future plans, Manushi Chhillar is focussing on competing at the Miss World pageant – a title no Indian has won since Priyanka Chopra brought back the crown in 2000. Other Indians who won the title in the past include Reita Faria (1966), Aishwarya Rai (1994), Diana Hayden (1997) and Yukta Mookhey (1999).
With dancing, singing, poetry writing and painting as her favourite interests, Manushi believes in just one motto: “The sky is the limit. We are limitless and so are our dreams, we must never doubt ourselves.”