Several girls in rural India still face the problem of poor access to sanitary products and lack of knowledge on menstrual hygiene. Identifying these challenges related to menstruation and menstrual health, a government teacher from the Nellore district provided sanitary pads to several girls, creating awareness about menstruation.
Mavuluri Suresh Babu (58), who hails from Railway Feeders Road from Nellore city, has been working as an assistant teacher in a government high school located at Venduru in Gudur Mandal of Nellore district. Babu has observed the difficulties faced by girls to attend school on the days of their periods, which in turn made them skip school for four to five days. He then came up with the idea of the distribution of sanitary pads amongst girls.
"I had observed girls skipping school for 3 to 5 days in a month. Since they miss a few classes, they lag behind in their studies. I had discussed the issue with my wife and started the distribution of sanitary pads from Venduru Government High School. Initially, I had set up a box with packs of sanitary pads in the staff room of the school and created awareness among girls about menstrual hygiene," said Babu, as reported by The New Indian Express.
After creating awareness, Suresh Babu now distributes sanitary pads that are sufficient for a year to girls in the school. He has been donating the pads to girls for the last five years. Babu donated sanitary pads to close to 200 government schools in three districts. He moved from school to school, using his own vehicle to spread awareness regarding menstrual health.
Babu's wife, Y Vijaya Lakshmi, who is also a government teacher, has been supporting him in extending the programme. Although Babu is retiring next year, his campaign will still continue. "I am going to retire next year. But the programme will not stop. In fact, I will get more time to extend the programme after my retirement," said Babu.
Babu and his wife spend around ₹35,000 to ₹40,000 every two months for distributing sanitary pads to girls in all government schools.