Only 12% of women in India use Sanitary Napkins, and rest of the 330 million women use rags, leaves and even ash instead. Moreover, 23% girls drop out of school when they reach puberty. Almost 70% of households cannot afford sanitary napkins at the market price.
In India, talk on menstruation is still a taboo in many parts. During the periods, a lot of restrictions are imposed on women; many a times they are not allowed to go to schools/offices/do routine work and are often confined to a place.
As part of the overall development plan, Pragathi in collaboration with another organization created awareness in more than 20,000 women in last four years in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. A young intern from US worked under the auspices of Pragathi in India for two months in 2017.
In last three months, as of September 2018, 23,000 sanitary packets have been distributed free by Pragathi. We have empowered and provided employment to several local village women. Some women are also able to supplement their incomes through sale of sanitary napkins at subsidized price at the door step. An attempt to produce locally was not successful as the prices were very high. We are happy that the government of Telangana will provide sanitary napkins free to all school girls.
We hope that many more will join our humble efforts to tackle this problem and help create awareness of safe methodologies, in their own geographical areas of influence,thereby preventing many from falling prey to unscientific myths and taboos.
This will definitely have a great impact on the drop out rate of girls from school resulting in their completion of education. And as we all know an educated female plays an important role in the improvement of socioeconomic conditions of family and society.