At 24, Snehal Chaudhari is on a mission to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene. The Mumbai resident has been working on an online campaign to break the silence on menstruation.
A software engineer by profession, Chaudhari first realised the importance of menstrual hygiene when she was in class 12. “I was then staying in Wasim. While taking breaks between my Class 12 studies, I used to visit old age homes and orphanages. It is during this period that I realised the lack of menstrual hygiene among girls,” said Chaudhari.
While she took up the issue in village areas, soon Chaudhari realised that menstrual hygiene is not limited to rural areas, orphanages or government schools, but even girls / women in urban areas face problems with menstrual hygiene.
“Initially, wherever I went, people were reluctant to talk about menstrual cycles and their problems. Menstrual hygiene is never given importance, even in urban areas. Since May 28 is menstrual hygiene day, I decided to conduct a 15-day-long online campaign,” said Chaudhari.
During her association with spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene, she came across frightening ways of women trying to cope during their menstrual cycles.
“Only 12% women use sanitary napkins and 88% women use other options including mud, ash, leaves, grass, rags or a cloth, which causes serious health hazard to women’s health,” said Chaudhari.
Her NGO, Kshitij Foundation has decided to conduct period story writing contest to promote culture of respecting women and their equality through writing skills. This contest has been announced on it Facebook page.
“During our online campaign, we invite women to send their stories to us and use hashtag #bleedthesilence. It is going to provide a platform for women to write about her story of her first period, taboos, myths and other things she had to face and in general revolve around menstruation. We want to create awareness on menstrual hygiene so that people respect women,” said Chaudhari.
She believes that menstruation is not only women’s issue, but it is a human issue.
“Through our campaign, we are trying to give them a platform to express feelings, to open up about their experiences regarding menstruation,” said Chaudhari.
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