Shattering the Inhibitions

My name is Nagma. I am 17 year and I live in Vinayakpuram in Lucknow since the past 14 years. Today, I am healthy, aware of menstrual hygiene and know how to take care of myself during my periods. Yet, this was not the case before few year before intervention in my locality stated on menstrual hygiene.

I had been using a cloth for years during the course of my menstrual cycle. It was a common practice that I followed along with most women in the area without questioning or realising about the health problems that could be caused by it. We were collectively unaware that there existed a better way and hence accepted the ongoing practices. I soon came to realise that I had developed skin problems because of the cloth I used. Yet even then, I did not have any choice but to use the cloth. Sanitary pads were out of question because of their accessibility and cost.

When the intervention started in our area and its staff came to discuss on our health and specifically reproductive health concerns, I was hesitant at first but eventually realised that this was perhaps the only way of seeking advice and help. Hence I shared with them about my skin problems. Thankfully, they were very sensitive and friendly in answering about the issue and tried to make me feel comfortable at all times which made communicating easier.

After some time, they gathered the women of the community and organised a training session where I was invited too. There they taught us and demonstrated how we can make sanitary pads for ourselves and also told us about the precautions which need to be taken during periods. They even discussed the disposal mechanism for these pads. They told us that this would reduce the chances of diseases and infections and are thus is much more hygienic.

I have been ever since attending all the sessions organised in the community and I motivate others to do so as well. I am extremely thankful for the awareness and knowledge provided me to take better care of myself. Still there are many women and girls like me, who are compelled to continue with the existing and incorrect practices without giving any thought to health and hygiene. It is important that they are made aware how they can do better.