The International Management Institute (IMI) Kolkata organized a campaign which came up with an awareness program on “Stay-Free: Celebration of Freedom, Period!" by ensuring the distribution of sanitary kits and the installation of sanitary napkin vending machines in Claret School, and Radhakantapur High School in the rural district of Purba Bardhaman. The main motto behind this campaign is to distribute sanitary kits and implement napkin vending machines to schools in rural areas with lesser access to menstrual hygiene amenities. This campaign took place at Claret School for a sanitary napkin vending machine supplied with 100 napkins and at Radhakantapur High School where IMI Kolkata will be supplying sanitary napkins for 3 months. The machines installed by this institute are for the use of students by depositing a token amount, which will help inculcate a sense of responsible usage. A renowned doctor by profession, Dr. Ajoy Ghosh along with his team also addressed these young students to create awareness on menstrual hygiene. This campaign took place on 5 August, 2022 in the esteemed presence of Dr. Gobinda Roy, Assistant Professor, Marketing, Chairperson-Social Media, Branding & Website Committee, IMI Kolkata, Father Peter Johnson, Principal, Claret School, Father Philip Dayanand, Vice Principal, Claret School and Mr. Asit Ranjan Adhikari, Teacher in Charge, Radhakantapur High School, Sahanagar.
This initiative is taken by IMI to create awareness among rural people on the necessity and safety of sanitary pads. The session by a medical practitioner will not only help students in being more informed, but also reduce the taboo around the subject. It not only gives young students access to sanitary pads who would otherwise consciously buy pads from the market but also sends the girls a positive message that the school is sensitive to their needs. Girls from rural areas are not aware and prepared for menstruation so they face many difficulties and due to lack of awareness they may also face many problems such as infections which can result in future infertility and birth complications.
Addressing the media Dr. Gobinda Roy, Assistant Professor, Marketing, Chairperson-Social Media, Branding & Website Committee of IMI Kolkata mentioned, “Menstruation in India has always been considered as a topic of taboo which results in lack of awareness. IMI Kolkata has taken an initiative to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene and to increase access and use of high quality sanitary napkins among young girls in rural areas. Hence, we are starting this initiative of providing sanitary napkins to teenage girls from rural areas. This time we have initiated this campaign in two schools of Burdwan and in future we will get in contact with many more schools in rural areas and spread awareness about sanitary napkins and menstruation”.
Multiple reports state that 23% of adolescent girls drop out of school as proper facilities are not provided to them when they start menstruating. In schools, girls don't have access to functional toilets, clean water, adequate sanitation, and disposable facilities. Menstruation is a natural, physiological function. A large section of society considers women during menstruation as ‘impure’ or ‘dirty’. A large percentage of women are forced to use old cloth, newspapers, and even mud during menstruation. Sanitary pads are expensive and about 70 percent of women cannot afford them. While the installation of sanitary napkin vending machines in government schools in rural Bengal by this young B-School is an exemplary step it should be replicated by many other institutes of repute in rural areas.