The lack of awareness and taboo related to menstruation is still a big problem in India. To solve this issue, Sanjana Dixit came forward to open an NGO named “Rutuchakra”.
People from rural areas especially are unaware of the proper menstruation hygiene that should be followed and end up following unhygienic practices. Many young girls drop out of school as soon as they menstruate. Many women cannot even afford sanitary napkins.
An Eye Opening Visit to an NGO
Sanjana Dixit, a 19-year-old from Bengaluru, started an NGO to raise awareness about menstruation and other related health practices after visiting an NGO. Sanjana visited an NGO on her 16th birthday and was shocked to see the condition of the restrooms and the way hygiene was being maintained. People were donating food, clothes, and other items of necessity. No one was paying much attention to the aspect of health and hygiene.
Research Findings on Menstrual Health and Hygiene
When she returned home, she started researching health and hygiene-related issues to menstruation. The information she found was startling. Women in rural areas were using palm leaves, dirty clothes, and newspapers. In some extreme cases, they even sat on mud for hours. Unhygienic menstruation practices can be a cause of various diseases. Many women in rural and urban areas are unaware of these conditions.
Starting from NGO for Spreading Awareness
Sanjana brought awareness to the lives of these women. In 2018, she started an organization dedicated to spreading awareness about menstruation health and hygiene in the lives of women. She organized workshops for women. She reached out to gynecologists to understand the issue better.
Initially, the workshops were organized in rural areas. The myths related to menstruation were cleared. Knowledge related to menstrual hygiene, PCOS, the right products to be used, cramps, PMS was shared.
Challenges Faced by Sanjana
Sanjana faced many challenges as well. Many people did not take her seriously because of her young age. The women she taught reverted to their old practices after some point in time. To deal with the problem, Sanjana started revisiting these areas after every six months for a follow-up session. She observed if changes occurred in the hygiene conditions.
It was also tough to make connections and reach out to doctors and vendors who could help with the awareness program. Sanjana got associated with Ashoka India’s Young Changemaker program in 2019. The program helped her to form better connections and gave her access to an extensive network.
Impact and Future Plans
The organization has conducted 17 workshops, has supported over 5,500 girls, and has distributed over 1,16,000 menstrual products to women in need. Even during the corona pandemic, they have been active in spreading awareness and helping women.
The organization has distributed 54,800 products and helped over 4,000 menstruating girls. Sanjana aims to reach out to a larger audience and help more women through her initiative in the future.
If you loved this story, read another story about how Eco Femme is providing menstrual products to the women of economically weaker sections of society.
To know more about Sanjana Dixit, please check – Instagram.