Menstrual kit for the visually impaired

It was during her stay in Udaipur while doing her internship in 2011 when Sadhvi Thukral realised how, adhering to age-old traditions, many families still prohibited women from entering the kitchen while they were menstruating. Appalled by the myths and social taboos attached to the subject, she decided to take up a project on the same – but targeted at the visually impaired.

“The family I used to live with, despite being educated used to follow such traditions. Once, the daughter of the family who got her periods returned home early, but since she was not allowed to enter the kitchen, waited for someone to return home and prepare tea for her. It was only after I came back, nearly four hours later, that I made tea for her,” Thukral, who is currently pursuing her masters from National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, tells Metrolife.

“However, the same evening she was washing utensils. I realised this was limited to only letting her cook but not for doing labour-intensive work. That’s the reason I took up the project,” she explains.

The twenty-four-year-old Thukral took up the project — ‘Kahani Her Mahine Ki’ – a menstruation kit especially developed for visually impaired girls and women — as her final degree work at the Pearl Academy of Fashion in Delhi in 2012.

“I was always inclined towards working for the visually impaired and while being associated with various NGOs, I saw that while many worked for rural and urban audience on the subject of menstruation, very few focused on different abilities including visual impairment. Even today, there is a dearth of special books for menstrual health for them to refer to,” she says, explaining the idea behind her project.

Priced between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000, the kit includes a replica of a life-sized lower torso of a women to demonstrate menstrual hygiene products and also make understand how the body parts look like, tactile diagrams and material in the form of information slates – each having text for the sighted and Braille for the visually impaired - with labels of the various body part.

“The kit is designed in such a manner that the girls need not depend on anyone to help them read the kit. But a special educator can conduct a few sessions to explain everything — just how a sighted person is given sex education. Later on, the child can read more in the library where the kit would be placed,” Thukral explains.

Thukral, who as of now has only one prototype of the kit, has conducted workshops at some institutes in Ahmedabad and Delhi. The kit has also been showcased at some
national and international conferences.

“I have got a positive response and a lot of valuable feedback from all stakeholders. However, no one is monetarily or otherwise helping me as of now. A lot of organisations had showed interest earlier, but nothing happened as I was busy with my course,”
she shares.

“I have recently made some modifications in the design, based on user feedback and further research. I am working on the materials and techniques which would increase the kit’s life. I am looking for people who would want to purchase it for their institutes so that I can start the production,” she adds.

Primarily designed for students going to English medium (special) schools in the city, Thukral says that she is “trying to translate them into several languages to make it more accessible by all audience.”

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