Vandana Singh, an English Lecturer at Chandra Shekhar Azad Inter College in Puravnara, gives away nearly 500 to 1,000 sanitary pads in a week to rural women to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and adequate Sanitation.
Four years ago, she lost a close relative due to improper menstrual hygiene, which prompted her to start a battle to spread awareness amongst rural women about the importance of good menstrual hygiene. Till now, the lecturer has distributed 1.25 lakh sanitary napkins and aims to touch the 5-lakh mark.
Known As Pad Woman In The Region
Vandana is famously called the 'Pad Woman' in the area because she always carries sanitary napkins and distributes them whenever she can. She now spends all her spare time and 10 per cent of her monthly salary in several ways to spread knowledge and awareness about the issue.
The Times of India quoted her, "Sanitation and hygiene are essential for women during menstruation and can be a matter of life and death. Lack of proper Sanitation during menstrual cycles can lead to several illnesses." She further mentioned that when she started distributing sanitary napkins to rural women, people would crack jokes on her; however, she relentlessly worked for the cause.
She said that women and girls in rural areas still do not understand the importance of menstrual hygiene, and we need to educate them. She further recalled that people would pass lewd comments during her initial days like "Aurat hokar aisi baatein karti hai" (Being a woman herself, she still talks like this). After putting in continuous efforts, she gradually succeeded. Moreover, she bought five sewing machines to teach girls and women how to make sanitary napkins and become self-reliant.
Menstruation is still considered taboo, especially in rural parts of India. It is unfortunate that women and girls on their menstrual cycles are considered impure and are discriminated against in several places.