Former Air Hostess Transformed Lives Of Over 10,000 Rural Women By Teaching Them About Menstrual Hygiene

By Ritika Bidawat | 3 min read

In India, menstruation remains a sensitive subject entrenched in taboos, resulting in several challenges for women in managing their menstrual cycles. This issue encompasses cultural customs, limited accessibility to sanitary pads for economically disadvantaged women, and various other aspects.

Source – Pexels

According to a 2014 report by the NGO Dasra, an astonishing 23 million girls drop out of school annually due to inadequate facilities for maintaining menstrual hygiene. These facilities include the availability of sanitary napkins and comprehensive awareness about menstruation.

The study also revealed that within the surveyed group, around 70 percent of mothers with menstruating daughters considered menstruation as impure, while 71 percent of adolescent girls remained unaware of menstruation until they experienced it themselves.

Facts like these can hold someone back and make them reconsider the society they live in. But most of us just think about it for a moment and then move on with life without doing anything significant. However, this air hostess was different. She didn’t just think about it; she took meaningful actions to tackle the problem.

Air Hostess – Turned- Social Activist

air hostess
Source – Sakriya

Breaking taboos and eliminating the stigma surrounding menstruation is a crucial step toward empowering women across India. Anitha Ranganath, a former air hostess turned social activist, recognized the dire need for menstrual hygiene education and founded the NGO Sakriya.

Through this initiative, Anitha has reached out to thousands of underprivileged women in rural areas of Karnataka, conducting awareness campaigns and distributing sanitary kits.

Her efforts have brought about a positive change, fostering confidence, knowledge, and sustainability among disadvantaged communities. In this blog, we delve into Anitha’s inspiring journey, the challenges faced by underprivileged women, and the positive impact this air hostess is creating through Sakriya.

air hostess
Source – Facebook

Anitha’s Inspirational Journey

Anitha’s journey to becoming a social worker was not without its challenges. Coming from a traditional family, she had to overcome obstacles to pursue her dream of becoming an air hostess.

But she not only became an air hostess but also enjoyed the luxuries that came with her job. She had the opportunity to travel to over 60 countries and was living her life to the fullest. However, something kept bothering her.

air hostess
Source – Instagram

Deep inside, she felt a calling to think about those who were less fortunate. Whenever she visited rural areas, she couldn’t help but feel burdened by the sight of women living in unhealthy and taboo-ridden conditions.

Sakriya – Meaning “active participation” & “good deed”

Motivated by her desire to give back to society, Anitha founded Sakriya in 2017. The name itself represents “active participation” and “good deed.”

Through Sakriya, Anitha conducts awareness campaigns on menstrual hygiene, distributes sanitary kits, and organizes sessions for personal growth, benefiting underprivileged women and children in Bangalore and remote villages across Karnataka.

sakriya  by air hostess
Source – Facebook

Additionally, this former Air Hostess conducts menstrual health and personal growth sessions for corporate organizations. In total, she has organized over 119 awareness campaigns and events, benefiting more than 10,000 women across villages and other areas.

“Whether it was understanding the meaning behind the color of menstrual blood or knowing when to change pads, these women were completely unaware. It was during this realization that the idea of Sakriya sparked in my mind. “

With Sakriya, she has reached various places like Bangalore, Kolar, Belur, Vijayapura, Narsapura, and many more, spreading awareness and providing education on menstrual health.

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Recognizing the role personal grooming plays in building confidence, Anitha emphasizes the importance of appearance and self-perception. She believes that personal grooming can positively impact how women perceive themselves.

sakriya
Source – Sakriya

Anitha doesn’t limit her efforts to rural areas alone; she also extends her visits to corporates and fashion industries to raise awareness about these important topics. This former Air Hostess covers subjects such as personal hygiene, dental care, the significance of dressing well, and more. Her goal is to educate and empower people in various settings regarding these essential aspects.

Anitha rao sakriya
Source – Instagram

Through her efforts, she not only creates awareness about menstruation but also uplifts communities by providing valuable educational opportunities. Additionally, she organizes events such as educational competitions and fashion shows to showcase the talents of children of low opportunities or with disabilities.

Realizing the need for education among underprivileged students, Anitha extended her support by teaching English to students in a government school in Bangalore.

Anitha rao
Source- Sakriya

Heartbreaking Stories and the Need for Change:

In discussing the dire circumstances, she revealed that many women in these villages didn’t even possess a pair of underwear. Instead, they resorted to using ropes, dry leaves, or plain cloths, which led to various health issues such as Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), infertility, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. These circumstances painted a grim picture of the challenges faced by women in those communities.

Anitha’s mission extends beyond distributing disposable underwear; she aims to raise awareness about sustainable menstrual products such as reusable pads and biodegradable options, working towards making at least one village free from plastic pads.

Taking a touch of everything

Even during corona when the whole world was thinking only of their own self this air hostess reached out to communities and provided valuable guidance on managing menstruation during difficult times.

Anitha also emphasizes the importance of sustainability in menstrual products, encouraging the use of menstrual cups, reusable pads, and biodegradable alternatives.

air hostess
Source – Pexels

Anitha Ranganath’s relentless efforts through Sakriya are transforming lives and breaking the taboos surrounding menstruation. By empowering disadvantaged rural women with knowledge, resources, and support, she is creating a positive impact on menstrual hygiene management.

Anitha’s story is an inspiration for all, reminding us that small steps can bring about significant change. Together, we can work towards a future where no woman faces challenges due to a lack of awareness or access to menstrual hygiene products.

Feature Image source – Facebook

If you loved reading this story of kamal Kishor Mandal, you can also check out – Women’s Empowerment Shaking Hands With Sustainability- Meet top 10 changemakers On Our List.

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