Over 130 adolescent girls received sanitary pads at a menstrual hygiene awareness camp in the Girish Park area on Sunday.
The recipients, aged between 10 and 18 years, live in the nearby slum areas and study in a school run by an NGO. Some of them are children of sex workers in Sonagachhi, known as Asia’s biggest red-light area.
The camp was organised at Safe Space for Children School in Rambagan, run by the Child in Need Institute. The camp was organised by Kishoree Foundation, a charitable foundation based in Patna, Bihar, in association with Rotaract Club of Calcutta.
From the need to change napkins after intervals to the importance of proper disposal, various issues related to menstrual hygiene and use of sanitary pads were discussed before 135 packets of Kishoree Pad sanitary napkins were handed over to the girls.
Kishoree Pad is the sanitary napkin brand of Kishoree Foundation.
The largely handmade pads are manufactured by all-women teams in village-based micro-units.
The project not only generates employment for rural women but also creates awareness and exposure of various health, livelihood and women empowerment issues.
“We also discussed the need to drink plenty of water and maintaining basic hygiene. Also important is to consult a doctor in case of an emergency, rather that trusting a quack,” said Suchetana Chanda, the co-ordinator of the Kishoree Foundation in Kolkata.
The long closure of schools has impacted schoolgirls’ access to sanitary pads, especially on the city’s outskirts and in districts, heads of several schools have said.
The schools had vending machines or organisations visited them to distribute sanitary pads and the girls would be comfortable taking pads for free or at subsidised rates. Now, with the livelihoods of many families being hit, the parents cannot afford to buy pads.
The organisers promised more such camps in the city in the coming days.