Women’s day at Myna marks the launch of our “Sponsor a Girl campaign”
If you have already visited our website you must probably have heard about our “Sponsor a Girl” campaign, and if not, let me tell you all about it!
As you already know, Myna is dedicated to providing affordable menstrual hygiene for all, and especially for the vulnerable girls of the slum-dwelling communities in Mumbai. Yet, achieving this goal is a major challenge, as many girls do not have, at all, the financial means to buy hygienic menstrual products. Nonetheless, access to reliable menstrual hygiene is crucial for young girls to fulfill their educational potential. This is why we decided to focus our campaign on the school going girls and college students. Indeed, cloth users girls are more likely to develop infections as they might not be able to change throughout the entire day, while young girls might find difficulties in attending school if the protection they are using is not reliable. On the contrary, if those girls can be ensured with healthy menstrual products, they don’t have to worry about missing school or having blood stains on their clothes, and they can keep up with their studies.
Myna has thus been working for these past months on developing a scheme to help young girls from impoverished backgrounds to be funded for their menstrual products. Thanks to online donations on our website, it is possible to ensure one year of menstrual hygiene for some young girls of the Natwar Parekh Compound, where our office is based. We started the program by designing as well as conducting a survey in order to identify who were the potential beneficiaries of this campaign going to be. Our survey included numerous question to assess the financial situation of the girls’ families as well as their menstrual practices. We were able to highlight the first batch of 20 girls that corresponded the most to our campaign criteria, but we will soon, thanks to more donations, enlarge the number of beneficiaries.
On the 8th of March, the International Women’s Day, we organized the first “Sponsor a girl” gathering with the selected girls. Our founder Suhani started the meeting by explaining to the girls what Myna’s mission was, as well as why and how they had been selected to be part of it. It is crucial to speak up about menstruation, in order to break the taboos that leads young girls, and women, to feel ashamed of their bodies. To continue the meeting, and to lighten up the mood, we conducted a couple of ice breaking games, enabling the girls to discover each other and to make a couple of new friends. After this game, we showed the girls the Menstrupedia movie, a well made animated cartoon to grasp the meaning of puberty and its accompanied body transformations. Moreover, for this particular event, we had invited our coworkers in the Natwar Parekh Compound, Doctor for you, to conduct a presentation of what healthy menstruations are and to answer the questions that the young girls might have around their changing bodies. Doctors for you, also tackled other health-related issues and handed out food supplements to boost the girls’ health.
After the presentation, Suhani reasserted the importance of not feeling ashamed of your periods. Periods are natural and should not affect your potential was the conveyed message. For this matter, Myna developed a booklet including basic knowledge about pads as well as a calendar enabling girls to track their periods each month. Young girls were given incentives to feel proud of themselves, as well as to be attentive about their health. The last page of the Myna booklet contained reference numbers to call in case of emergencies and intimate health issues. Finally, the Myna staff handed out bags which contained all our different types of pads to cover the girls’ menstruations during 3 months. It also included newspaper bags in order to ensure proper disposal of the used pads.
Twenty girls went home that day, equipped with appropriate sanitary products for the 3 coming months. We will be waiting for them and call them back after this period to resupply and conduct a second gathering to discuss Women’s Health! We hope to be able to sponsor even more girls in the coming months.