Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Menstruating with Dignity!

Post written for the 'The Idea caravan' contest by Franklin Templeton and Indiblogger.in



God made man on the 6th day as per the Holy Bible. Sooner, he made woman who would assist him and follow him throughout his life.  That was how men and women were created. Wondering why discussion about men and women?  Right?

There are many differences between men and women and the prime differentiating factor would be the  biological cycle in both. Women's body is fragile and  designed in such a way that she has to undergo monthly changes within her body.A normal girl attains her puberty at the age of 13 ( varies between 11 -15). After this age she has to cope up with monthly changes in her body when the growth  and sex hormones comes into picture.  It is when a girl completely turns into a woman or it can be referred to as her sexual maturity period. The biological clock starts ticking and thus the periodic changes in her body. In India discussing about periods and menses are considered as a taboo. A woman can only discuss such things to her sisters ,mother and her close female friends. Around 70% of people in India live in rural areas. Women in urban regions have access to proper health facilities and sanitation. But the case is completely different in rural regions.  Here women have to deploy different techniques and methods to collect their vaginal discharges in form  of  menstrual blood.  Around 80 % of women in India have access to markets. Most of the household stuffs are purchased by the man of the family. As a result it becomes difficult for women in rural villages to go out and buy such costly sanitary pads. They lack basic menstrual hygiene  which  inturns becomes problematic for them.Many women from  these regions are held back by shame when it comes to basic sanitation. 

 As per recent researches only 14 % women of reproductive ages in India use sanitary methods to manage  the blood flow during their periods.The others  use ragged  clothes,newspapers,tree husks,dried leaves, saw dust, ropes and even ashes during their menstrual period to manage their hygiene.  Around 20 - 30 % of women suffer from different  health disorders because of such unhygienic practices to manage their periods.One should know that there are large number of health issues which is directly or indirectly attributed to improper sanitation during menstrual cycle.Diseases like severe urinary tract infections,gonococcal infections,septicaemia,vulval irriation and itching can lead to many severe complications like abortions,infertility and even death. Any developing nation has to address the problem of sanitation. Women among the younger groups needs to be educated and only then they could find a solution to such issues. Proper education and sanitation facilities are the need for the hour. Women shouldn't ignore health  issues resulting as a result of improper sanitation.  Women should be educated  about self hygiene care and health awareness should be created amongst people in rural areas.By ignoring these issues we are just killing so many generations.  Women should be aware of all these issues and its high time they should face and handle such things. There should be access to cost effective sanitary measures in form of sanitary pads and other means to manage menstural problems. Since, a large chunk of people live below poverty line in India and the rural side suffers a lot. There are women who lack basic amenities and aforementioned they should be addressed. These impacts a women's dignity as well.Not most women from the rustic villages afford expensive sanitary pads  which costs around Rs 10 per pad. Due to poverty and family issues, they resort to using cheap products or any other alternatives to manage their menstrual discharges.

Mr. Arunachalam Muruganatham is a local entrepreneur from Coimbatore who  had an innovative approach to address these issues that women face. The main problems for women from rural areas include access to the expensive sanity pads.  He had an amazing solution which provided easy access to sanitation facility for women. He made cost effective sanitary pads which benefited most of the women in villages. He researched and worked on to create sanitary napkin to make sure that it proved handy to the needy women. He invented his own machine which  is used to create simple sanitary napkin  at a lower price. The pads made using his machines would be sold at a lower price than those produced using high equipped machineries. Aforementioned, a single sanitary pad is sold at Rs 6 but the one produced from Arunachalams machine is sold at  Rs 1.5. Thus it is cost effective and makes it easy for women in rural villages. This machines operates on a small scale and helps to offer good hygiene, dignity and empowerment to the underpriveliged women in our country. I appreciate the efforts Arunachalam put in creating the product. In our country where women find it difficult to share their menstrual stories to men, Arunachalam rendered help from his sisters and his wife to seek feedback about his product. He also sought help from few college students but all his attempts to set up a concrete stable  product seemed futile during his product research phase because of the taboo which I mentioned above. He tested the sanitary product on himself by using  animal blood to check the effectiveness of his product. He later went on to set up Jaishree industries which markets these machines to rural women all over India.Thus contributing to  women empowerment and to improve their quality of life. His efforts and commitments has won him several awards and accolades. He even received an award from the President of India for his innovative solutions and contribution to women empowerment in rural parts of India. He has been giving out his machines to women  on a non profit basis to help improve their life.Through his innovative approach and solutions Arunachalam has not only helped the  rural women in India but also changed their lifestyle. There are many  women praising his product and feel comfortable with it as they no longer use the unhygienic methods to collect menstrual bloods.He talks of living a meaningful life. What is the first step in nearing a solution is to find a   problem itself. His inspiring words can motivate anyone and by this any can find a solution to a problem with alternative  and innovative approach. 


Check the TEDx video below  by the man himself.

 


The Solitary Writer is a blog which started as a hobby.Here you will find stories, poems, satirical posts, humour, photography and almost everything. This blog is the alter ego of a Technical guy who loves to be called as the Solitary Writer. Others call him Ste. He works as a Senior Quality Analyst in a leading Organisation and loves to break the codes and he likes to  do things differently. Did you like this post? Get The Solitary Writers updates via Facebook or Twitter, better yet, subscribe to it via RSS Feed. It’s easy, and free!Also you can discuss in the Forum. Comments are just another way to let me know how you feel.Don't forget to comment.

8 comments:

  1. Great man! I appreciate you to take up this cause and write about it! Kudos to you :)

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  2. Very Very important issue and the best part is it has been written with utmost sensitivity. Keep Up...Keep Writing !!!!

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  3. An important issue, well captured with all the detailed facts and information and your viewpoint on the same. Best Wishes for the contest :) :)

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  4. Good to see a man up with an idea that is strictly confined in women in India. Thank you so much for spreading the awareness and sharing the idea with us. Best of luck!

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  5. I really didn't expect u to write on this. Good to know men know wat problems are faced by women in rural areas and are even trying to help. You have written it with utmost sensitivity. Hats offf

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  6. Hmmm what made you chose this topic? :)
    as always you wrote well.

    www.numerounity.com

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  7. thank you for talking about this topic.

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  8. Hi TS, I believe you should insert this video within your post...All the Best...

    http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/08/08/newday-wallace-shame-free-period-ad.cnn.html

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