Most adolescent girls who hit puberty in India suffer from nutritional deficiencies and other health issues due to lack of healthy and hygienic practices during their menstruation. Though only 18% women in India have access to a proper sanitary napkin, there is a major population that follows the age old customs and continues to use unhygienic cloth during periods. The state of small villages and tribal communities is appalling where awareness is almost non-existent and needs education as the practices followed by women leads to contraction of serious infections and sometimes even proves fatal for young girls.
To address this situation Johnson & Johnson’s leading sanitary napkin brand ‘Stayfree’ and Rotary Club of Bombay, District 3141 is coming together through FREEDOM FOR GIRLS – Project KHUSHI, to spread awareness amongst the adolescent girls between the age group of 13 to 15 (standard 8 to 10) in the tribal and slum areas of Jawahar, Palghar, Dahanu, Shahapur and also in the slum areas of Mumbai. Their objective is to source high quality, low cost sanitary pads and donate them in these area with one year’s supply, so they can have access to safe and hygienic sanitation during their menstruation ad experience the benefits of using them. This project will also help them realise the benefits of using sanitary pads and how its helps in maintain good health.
J&J spokesperson said on this occasion “This initiative is a small step towards strengthening the female youth population of India. Unhygienic sanitary conditions also affect the mental health, where girls are constantly plagued with infections which adds to their anxiety at an early age. This in turn leads to low confidence and self-moral. A healthy body and mind is key to a more confident and happy individual. Today a large number of women in India still continue to use cloth during menstruation and that needs to change to ensure they live a healthy life.”
Mr. Shashikumar Sharma, District Governor, Rotary International District 3141 added – “The project Khushi – Freedom for Girls aims at providing 50 lakhs Sanitary Pads to deprived girls in the tribal areas of District 3141. Poor education, far away from the mainstream, girls in tribal and slum areas face a huge health & sanitation problem. They are using dirty unhygienic cloth during a menstrual cycle instead of sanitary pads which creates blistering, soreness, infections and long-term health issues”.
The target is to provide 50 lakh sanitary pads to the underprivileged tribal girls and educate them about the importance of maintaining health and hygiene during periods. The identification and procurement will be done by the Rotary Club of Bombay, District 3141. This program will run until June 2019 and reach out to maximum girls in the adolescent age group. The girls are out performing the boys in every field but, the health of our youth still plagues our country. We need to take some steps to educate and provide basic hygiene to young girls so they are go on to be more confident and independent.