Two years ago, when a team from Bharti Foundation visited Government Senior Secondary School, Kanina Mandi in Mahendragarh (Haryana) they found that student attendance was at an all-time low. It soon became apparent that girl students abstained from attending school during their menstruation cycle, finding it embarassing to use toilets with broken doors. Menstrual hygiene continues to remain a taboo topic even today, causing girls to go deeper into their shells and hesitate in voicing their concerns or queries.
Ms. Snehlata, Principal of Govt. Senior Secondary School, Kanina Mandi, Mahendragarh (Haryana) a school under the Foundation’s Satya Bharti Quality Support Program, was determined to find a solution to this problem and therefore initiated a lecture series with the support of the team from Bharti Foundation. A lecture on ‘Adolescent Issues with Focus on Menstrual Hygiene- Myths and Misconceptions’ was initiated at the school by the Foundation, with the aim of providing information and knowledge to adolescent girls on menstruation and personal hygiene.
A group of 46 girls from the school attended the lecture. They were not only encouraged to shed their inhibitions by taking part in an open discussion, but were also guided with hand holding support that encouraged them to think through and find solutions to their problems. To supplement this initiative, a ‘Sanitary Pad Bank’ was proposed by the Bharti Foundation team. Sanitary Pads were procured and stored at school and the distribution was personally overseen by the Principal. Further, a discreet question box was placed in the school which encouraged girls to drop any queries on menstruation or women’s health. A local doctor teamed up with the principal to answer the queries and thereby increase awareness.
This novel approach in a rural context has directly resulted in an increase in girl student attendance and thereby led to the uninterrupted education of the girl child in the school.
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