Conversation on menstruation has been a taboo for decades in India. In the last few years, with Sabarimala judgement and the film Padman, the topic has been part of debates and conversations quite frequently. To ease these conversations further across the globe, WHO has announced 28th May as Annual Menstrual Hygiene Day, in 2014.
A clear conversation and education on menstrual hygiene is a must for every adolescent girl. With heavy hormonal activity and puberty, the young girls are often vulnerable and impressionable. As a result, they hesitate to talk openly about the issue and end up using unhygienic methods during their menstrual cycles, making them highly prone to infections and diseases. Apart from the physical harm, they also go through mental strain by thinking themselves to be dirty and undeserving while on period.
Understanding the sensitivity of the situation, the state of Bihar has initiated a project the Bihar State Project Education Council and Sarv Siksha Abhiyan, where the schools will have weekly classes on menstruation. The project is a part of Mukhyamantri Kishori Yojana, in which each institute will have a class every Saturday on periods where students will be taught about correct ways to use sanitary napkins, hygiene, reproductive health, etc.
These classes, in the first phase of the project, will be conducted only for the female students in the senior secondary classes but in later phases, the project is expected to rope-in younger girls and moving on the plan of the Department of Education, Bihar is also to sensitise boys about puberty-related issues.
The scheme is expected to affect over 6000 schools. For the execution of it, at least one female teacher from every school is being trained by master trainers. Four teachers from each district were chosen as a master trainer who will further train teachers in their districts.
The unique initiative will not only provide the girls with required training on menstrual hygiene but also serve as a platform for adolescent girls and boys to talk about the challenges they face during a difficult time of puberty. The initiative needs to be replicated by the educational institutions across the country, in order to spread awareness about the issue, and in turn protecting the women of the society from infections and diseases.