Eliminating culturally-ingrained social stigmas is no easy task, especially when it comes to tackling menstrual health in rural India. It is precisely with the aim of bringing a gradual change in mindsets about menstrual hygiene and women’s health that Boond in association with Goonj initiated the “Not just a piece of Cloth” programme.
The team was off on the road in Udaipur district to conduct exhaustive workshops in 3 villages and provide women with healthy alternatives to traditional and often unhygienic practices. The programme’s main purpose was to talk to girls and their mothers about menstruation without embarrassment and initiate an open and safe discussion on menstrual hygiene. Additionally, the team conducted workshops on the making of clean cloth pads as commercialized pads tend to be affordable to rural women.
Rural women and girls attending the workshop at Udaipur district
It was the first time that such discussion was being facilitated in these villages. It took a while for the group to comfortably participate in the discussion. However, by the end, there was a noticeable change in women’s mindset. Women felt more aware and empowered to take on healthier menstrual routine. Almost 200 packets of clean cloth pads were distributed for them to experience a clean cloth napkin.
Distribution of clean cloth pads to women and girls at the workshop
Health leaders from among them have been selected in each village to conduct meetings and help get feedback from women using the pads. Deepali, 14 years old, was in tears when she received a pack. Her grandmother now understands how an “unclean” process can be turned on its head to generate a “clean” way of regaining dignity, health, education and empowerment.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Decode Global team (based in Canada) is in the midst of designing a game (mobile app) to educate teenagers about menstrual hygiene. Ideas for the game were flowing as the team is taking on this project with great enthusiasm. The game will have lots of images as it favours dynamism and greater accessibility. Stay tuned for more updates on the game!
Artwork from the game conducted
End of workshop at a village in Udaipur district