Fighting Period Poverty With Resuable Cups & Pads. These Rotary Women Make it a Movement.

Prisha a class nine student teaches Yoga to visually challenged children turning Yoga inclusive.
Prisha a class nine student teaches Yoga to visually challenged children turning Yoga inclusive.
An initiative to end period poverty by five women from the Rotary has become a global movement now, raising funds to introduce sanitary napkins to poor communities and to promote use of environment friendly reusable pads. 
 
Period poverty is a global reality. An estimated 300 million women menstruate every day and over 500 million women lack access to menstrual products and facilities for proper menstrual hygiene management. 
 
The Rotary initiative – The Rotary Action Group Menstrual Health and Hygiene (RAGMHH) raises awareness among teachers, students, parents and boys too and distributes sanitary napkins for girls. They also raise funds to support this global movement. “One in ten girls miss school in Africa because they do not have access to menstrual products. In India about 12% of menstruating women cannot afford menstrual products”,  Sharmila Nagarajan, Chairman, RAGMHH  told tellmystory.in She adds the problem prevails in developed countries too.
 
Co-founded by Vidhya Srinivasan and Dr Meenakshi Bharat, both from India, Sharmila Nagarajan from the UK, Inés Verónica García from Argentina and Denise Klischan a German living in Spain now, the Rotary initiative has reached out to around 50000 women globally including India, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
Reusable pads can be used for 2 years while reusable cups can be used upto 10 years.

IRAGMHH also seeks to encourage the use of sustainable menstrual products. Women spend a total of 7 years of their life menstruating. 50% of the women world-wide use disposable period products that account for over 150 million pads ending up in landfills daily. The campaign offers reusable cloth pads and reusable cups. These can be used for 2 years and 10 years respectively,  eliminating recurring cost and checking pollution as well . 

“When you give a woman in a vulnerable condition a menstrual cup, you are giving them freedom, true freedom. You are empowering them because now they do not have to waste any money on sanitary products for more than 10 years and you are also making them conscious about our environment” said Treasurer, Inés Verónica García. 

This ambitious women-oriented project began amid the pandemic as women  Rotarians came together to work for the cause of women as it’s they came who under pressure. Thus was born The Rotary Action Group Menstrual Health & Hygiene (RAGMHH) to fight period poverty and to educate individuals and communities on sustainability & Hygiene.
 
The campaign  aims to break the silence surrounding menstruation and normalise it as a necessary bodily function like breath or heartbeat.  “Boys, this way understand the physical changes in girls after puberty better and get sensitised. They wouldn’t tease them and this aims to end the stigma” said Vidhya Srinivasan, the Vice-Chairman. On the targeted impact, Vidhya says “The gender gaps and  inequality in jobs cost 15% of GDP for countries. In India, IMF says if gender parity in jobs is achieved it could boost the GDP by 27%”.  
 
The campaign received a fillip as the world  celebrated menstrual health day on 28th May and World Environment Day celebrated on 5th June. 
 
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