India, which is at the center of South Asia, has been infamous for human trafficking for decades. The exploitation of rural women
India, which is at the center of South Asia, has been infamous for human trafficking for decades. The exploitation of rural women, who are lured into trafficking by false promises made in the form of a new job or a better life in the metropolitan cities, is more common than may seem. In fact, in 2016 around 20,000 women and children were pushed into trafficking in India. The numbers were a steep rise from 2015 as there is more awareness about human trafficking now and as a result more cases are being reported. Many helpless young girls are rescued with the help of police intervention and the involvement of social groups.
Samanvay is one such grass-root level NGO that is housing 200 young girls who were rescued from the clutches of traffickers. We are helping them rebuild their lives and get integrated into the society again. But their rehabilitation is an ongoing process. They need to be given all the love and support they need to lead a life filled with dignity and pride. Therefore, we have decided to inculcate a healthy sanitary hygiene practice that will empower them emotionally and also help them break the taboo around menstruation.
Menstruation is a topic that doesn’t get enough credit. As a result, young girls grow up feeling ashamed of this natural body process. Rural women suffer even more as they are constantly bound by shame and guilt passed on through generations of elder women. It is only recently, that the subject has reached public consciousness and people (men and women) are talking openly about this biological process. Consequently, we are witnessing a change in the mind set of people and the way periods are perceived. Even celebrities like author Twinkle Khanna have mentioned the ridiculousness of the secrecy around one’s periods and have encouraged women to feel empowered and free-of-guilt about this monthly ordeal.
On our journey to rehabilitate these young girls, we need to help them cultivate healthy habits that will have a lasting impression on their lives. Buying sanitary napkins for 200 girls is not economical on a monthly basis. Therefore, we have come up with a solution that will cut the costs yet maintain healthy standards of hygiene. We plan to build an in-house sanitary napkin machine that will meet their demands and will also be manufactured by these young girls. In this way, these girls will be employed and engaged in work that will create a sense of independence and worthiness.
Building these machines will help them practice healthy sanitary hygiene every month. These machines will manufacture around 1000 napkins on a monthly basis so we do not have to purchase them from the market. The cost to build these machines is approximately Rs. 300,000. It is beneficial in the long run as the cost of buying napkins monthly in bulk will be expensive. We are doing all that we can to normalize their lives after a tragic past. As they are young and have a long life to live, they need your support and encouragement to start their lives again on a positive note. Your help, in whatever capacity, will be appreciated as it means taking a small step in the direction of hope and care.
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