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While the Padman Challenge might have been commendable on a superficial level, this fundraiser is actually helping underprivileged women with access to menstrual pads.
The discourse about sanitary napkins and periods has recently been more vocalized on social media with the release of the movie, Padman. However, the ‘Padman Challenge’ which was supposed to create awareness about periods in people turns out to be nothing more than a marketing ploy, which is also wasting non-ecofriendly pads with all that posing for photographs by celebrities.
Amidst this superficial support, Rituparna Chatterjee has launched this online fundraiser that aims to donate a free packet of pads to women living in Noida slums with the funds collected.
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This is what her fundraiser says,
“While the Padman challenge of holding up sanitary pads for selfies to remove the taboo around menstruation is commendable and intentionally noble, it doesn’t help in actually changing the lives of women living in poverty who have little access to menstrual hygiene.
I’m starting this fundraiser to help raise money for at least a month’s worth of supplies of pads (at least 1 packet) for at least 600 domestic workers who work long hours during their periods with little or no access to sanitary pads. I understand that a month’s work of pads may not make a huge difference, but I’m hoping it will motivate enough people to start their own campaigns and give health workers a chance to educate them about menstrual hygiene.
Going forward, we will look at setting up sanitary pad banks in various designated societies of Noida so that women who work as domestic helps can get easy and hassle-free access to menstrual hygiene.
Most of these women wear homemade pads made of cloth and face problems washing and drying them. The pads bought with the fundraiser money will be distributed in local slums in Noida with the help of charity organisations working in the field of reproductive health. I will document the entire process to ensure transparency.
What will your money buy?
No, I’m not looking to fill the coffers of MNCs. Your money will buy eco-friendly pads for domestic workers in this area from self help groups who make them at a much lower cost. It will sustain their operation and at the same time empower large groups of women. The pads bought will be distributed with the help of an NGO in slums. All proceeds left over will go to charity.
My heartfelt thanks.
– Rituparna Chatterjee”
This initiative is extremely significant, in an obvious way but also because it includes underprivileged women in the discussion about menstrual hygiene and safety which was largely assumed to only be the issue of women who already have the privilege of being aware of all their rights.
Women from less privileged backgrounds were not paid much attention to when the issue went viral, and this initiative is an important act of inclusion that can actually help make a visible change in the lives of these women.
Another important thing that can be noticed is the rising awareness about eco-friendly pads and the special attention that this gives to that. Not only will it help women but also the small companies which are struggling to establish credibility in the market in competition to the mainstream brands which are already very deeply rooted. There is a general air of doubt around these alternate products and that needs to be cleared off before we can expect women to stop using what they use in favor of something completely new.
Kudos to Rituparna and heartfelt support from our side. We hope the fundraiser grows bigger and bigger!
Image Source: Unsplash
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18// New Delhi, India
A literature student on the path of her identity. I like
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