Twenty-six-year-old Ruhpreet returned to India in May 2017, after a traumatic divorce. The troubles she faced in her marriage left a strong impression on her mind, and she decided she would help women in whatever way she could.
After her return, she began to teach children living in the slums of Patiala, and while interacting with the women living there, she discovered that most of them suffered from poor menstrual hygiene.
The women had little to no knowledge about the science behind menstruation, and also did not use sanitary pads.
This is a fairly common issue all over the country. As per reports, of the 355 million menstruating women in India, only 12 percent use sanitary pads, and over 88 percent of women use alternatives such as cloth, ashes and husk during menstruation, thereby causing severe reproductive health problems.
Ruhpreet started by educating these women about periods and then distributing sanitary pads. The slum dwellers knew her, as she had taught their children. Trusting a known face was more comfortable for the women, mainly because the topic was sensitive. Ruhpreet had gained their confidence, and the women began to be more forthcoming with their problems.
Soon, Ruhpreet realised that distributing free pads wasn’t a sustainable long-term solution. She understood that if these women were to be uplifted and helped, a more holistic and self-sustaining solution needs to be found.
This is why Ruhpreet decided to partner with an NGO, the Har Hath Kalam India Association. Her plan?
In conjunction with the NGO, she will set up a factory to manufacture reasonably-priced and hygienic sanitary pads, and then distribute the pads amongst these women.
She plans to ensure that slum-dwellers find work in the factory, so that can get a steady means of livelihood. She reasons that, if the slum-dwellers work in the factory, they will also be concerned with its distribution, etc.
Ruhpreet wants to make a quality and affordable pad, accessible to all and plans to sell a pack of five sanitary pads for a sum of Rs 10.
If you’d like to contribute towards this genuinely remarkable cause, please read on below.
Your contribution of just Rs 500, will help underprivileged women in the following ways—
1) Give more than 5 lakh women and girls in the region access to good quality, affordable and biodegradable sanitary napkins.
2) Provide them employment, and help them build their self-identity.
3) Earn a living for themselves as well their families.
4) Make their surroundings period-friendly, help them feel free to talk about it.
5) Breaking the myths women in 850+ villages across the district have grown up with, and help them utilise the days they are on their period, by doing some productive work.
6) Monthly workshops in 300+ government schools on health and well-being as well as building confidence and personal identity.
Help Ruhpreet in her endeavor to make Patiala’s slums period-friendly, by visiting Milaap.