New Delhi: We live in an era, where menstruation is still considered a taboo subject. Till date every month women try to conceal the fact that they are going through periods. They don’t talk about the subject openly, instead use code words to tell each other that their menstruation process has started like, ‘It’s my happy birthday’ or ‘A crow has touched me’. But, there are also girls like Bahamoni, who believe in breaking the age-old social taboos in their unique way.
Bahamoni is first year BA student at Rajnagar College from Jangalmahal, Birbhum district of West Bengal. Her hearing is impaired. But that has not deterred her from fighting for the cause of menstrual hygiene. With sign language, paper and pen as her weapon, Bahamoni writes down her messages to educate people about menstrual health and create awareness to ensure that girls do not leave schools when they hit puberty die to lack of toilets.
Over 23% of adolescent girls in the age-group 12 to 18 years drop out of school after they hit puberty, due to inadequate menstrual protection and hygiene practices. In India mere 12% of the 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins and
Recently, Bahamoni also met the District Magistrate, where through sign languages and putting her thoughts on paper, she asked for a sanitary napkin vending machine. She signed,
“We are fighting against prejudice.”
Through sanitary vending machine, Bahamoni hopes for a continuous supply of low-cost sanitary napkins for all the girls of her area.
In her village, according to the data provided by the district officer, there are 132 families, out of which 113 girls are school drop-outs. The reason is – inadequate menstrual hygiene and facilities in schools.
Bahamoni together with local administration has convinced 9 girls to join school back and she hopes to bring the number to 113 very soon. Though nine is a small number, but it is definitely a good start for her village and Bahamoni hopes to take her mission to all the tribal belts of the country. Her ultimate dream is a India where each and every women uses a sanitary napkin and is aware about menstruation, a natural phenomena that’s in many parts of the country is covered with myths.