Here’s How You Can Help Young Girls With Menstrual Hygiene Awareness


What if I told you that millions of young girls in India miss school because of their periods? As per a World Bank report, 500 million girls and women around the world lack access to feminine hygiene products, forcing them to use unsafe alternatives and keeping them from participating in community activities and attending school regularly.

Young girls miss school in India due to many reasons. Firstly, they do not have enough sanitary napkins to get through the day. Secondly, government schools do not have designated areas for disposing sanitary pads. And thirdly, these young girls lack awareness on this topic because cultural taboos have prevented them from receiving the education they require to understand what is happening to them, so they may be ashamed to attend school during their period.

Additionally, young girls in India are still not allowed to enter places of worship or their own kitchens while on their period. Even in modern households, some of these practices are still followed. I’m fortunate enough not to have experienced this, but I believe it’s important that we find ways to help from our position. We can collaborate with organisations that educate and raise awareness, as well as provide and donate feminine-hygiene products to young girls.

Facts on period poverty in India:

• 64% of India’s 355 million menstruating female population don’t use sanitary towels for protection

• An estimated 70 percent of all reproductive health issues are caused by poor menstrual hygiene

• 1 in 10 girls below the age of 21 in India cannot afford sanitary products and use unhygienic substitutes

Here are 3 major ways you can help:

1. Donate to organisations


Even a small amount can go a long way. When you donate to these organisations, they supply sanitary napkins for years, educate young women on how to use them and bring awareness on why and how their bodies are changing. We’ve compiled a list of organisations that you can donate to:

This organisation has launched a drive to distribute sanitary napkins and raise awareness among young girls—“For every 35 Rupees that you donate, we will purchase a packet of sanitary napkins that contain 8 pads. This packet of sanitary napkins will be distributed for free to girls in Govt. schools, slums, and orphanages in the age group of 12 to 20,” commits Milaap Foundation.

Asan is a social enterprise that aims to eradicate period poverty. They provide sanitary napkins and conduct extensive menstrual health education in villages. This link contains a list of exceptional NGOs and charities discovered by Asan that work on feminism and period poverty throughout India.

Pragti has launched the women’s empowerment programme, which provides sanitary napkins to school girls and women in rural areas, slums and orphanages. The programme provides health counselling and mentorship by female health workers, as well as educates girls about menstrual hygiene and distributes sanitary pads to help them stay in school.

The Nanhi Pari organisation created a hygiene kit for women containing a brush, soap, sanitary pads and hand wash. You can sponsor a hygiene kit to protect young women from period poverty and for every ₹46 that you donate, Nanhi Pari will purchase a packet of sanitary napkins that contains 6 pads and distribute it to government schools and villages for free.

Support one young girl’s journey through Myna Mahila’s ‘Sponsoring a Girl’ programme, which costs ₹3600 for 12 months— a one-time donation will help a young girl for a whole year. This organisation provides sanitary napkins and promotes discussions about menstruation, sanitary pads and feminine hygiene techniques. It also has its own brand of sanitary and maternity pads, which are manufactured by women in a workplace that is a short walk from their homes and offers them flexible hours. With this, Myna is helping women personally and professionally.

7. and

Reusable organic cloth pads are another way to go. The organic cotton makes it safer and more comfortable, and you can wash it at home like any other garment. There are many organisations in India today that produce organic cloth pads such as: Eco Femme and Stone Soup. Consider donating organic cloth pads to young girls who are concerned about changing their pads in their school bathrooms. It’s convenient and environment-friendly.

8. Menstrupedia Comic

Menstrupedia comic is an amazing initiative started by Aditi Gupta. It is an educational tool used by over 25,500 schools in India, and Menstrupedia’s resources are used in more than 25 countries. Aditi’s work on menstruation has impacted the lives of over 13 million girls and women in India and around the world. The Menstrupedia comic book is widely used by 9 state governments and 27 companies for CSR programmes. It is a book with simple illustrations that help young girls understand their periods and changes in their body as they start puberty. Looking for an easy way to teach your daughter about periods? You have found your answer.

2. Help those around you


If you are unable to donate, you can still help those around you. Young girls you might know—for example, your househelp’s children. You could provide them with feminine hygiene products every month and answer any questions they might have on this topic. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, I discovered that many of their family members did not have access to sanitary pads or even basic cooking items such as rice and cooking oils, so we donated packages of these items every month to the families. We could get them online or send a family member to go grocery shopping, but this was not an option for many people. Even if you only help one family, your efforts will have an impact.

3. Volunteer


You could volunteer at any of the organisations listed above, or places you may be familiar with near your homes. Many of these organisations offer internships as well. It requires some research, but to get you started, here are some links for volunteering/internship programmes:

There is no such thing as too little. Anything you choose to do or participate in, small or big, will help these young women greatly.

- Intern, Elle India

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