19 Dec 2020 14:43 IST

IIM Indore creates national record by distributing 18,000 sanitary napkins

The distribution drive was aimed at creating awareness about menstrual hygiene

In an effort to create awareness about menstrual hygiene and normalise periods, the annual cultural and management fest of IIM Indore, IRIS, launched their initiative #LetsTalkPeriods. The team created a national record by preparing a video chain of more than 1,000+ participants passing a sanitary pad, and received the certificate from India Book of Records. The team also conducted a distribution drive, collaborating with Indore-based NGO Manasa.

Professor Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore through NGO Samagat, Shanu Mehta, Visiting Faculty, IIM Indore, and Founder of NGO Arthsangini, came forward and donated 18,200 sanitary pads.

Human rights issue

Professor Rai said that menstruation is intrinsically related to human rights — when people cannot access safe bathing facilities and effective measures to manage their menstrual hygiene, they’re not able to go through with their periods with dignity. Menstruation related teasing, exclusion, and shame, also undermine the principle of human dignity. “I congratulate my students for taking a bold and brave step to break this taboo. Even today, gender equality, poverty, humanitarian crisis, and harmful traditions can turn menstruation into a time of deprivation and stigma and affect female health. Sanitary pads is the first step towards menstrual hygiene,” he said.

Mehta noted that due to lack of awareness about menstrual hygiene, a woman’s health is also at risk. “We want to create awareness about using a sanitary pad and will be distributing these napkins to more than 1,800 underprivileged women in Indore,” she said. Mehta’s NGO Arthsangini is helping women become self-reliant by encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting them in their journeys of becoming financially literate, so that they can further enhance their business.

IRIS Team coordinators Priya Arora and Toshendra Kumar Singh, noted that even holding a pad in public has been a taboo since very long. “The reality is deeply rooted to the grounds when a girl is taught to not use the words like ‘periods’ in public, when they are taught to not attend any pious religious ceremonies during periods, and when they are called "impure" when they bleed,” they said.