A group of 13 youngsters is reaching out to women, spreading awareness on menstrual hygiene. They are persuading the underprivileged to switch to eco-friendly practices. The informal bunch are school students from Bengaluru.
Their goal? Every woman should be able to manage menstruation in a hygienic and dignified way.
Led by a grade 12 science student, the team calls itself RutuChakra. Sanjana Dixit from the National Public School formed the group in January 2018.
Having conducted multiple workshops and awareness programmes, RutuChakra has managed to raise Rs 4.5 lakh through crowdfunding.
It all began when Sanjana visited an orphanage early last year and used a washroom there.
"I started questioning the awareness level among underprivileged girls. I was wondering if they knew what safe menstruation meant," she said.
Availability was a question, Sanjana observed. "When I spoke to the person in charge there, I understood that many donate stationery and clothes. None gave money or donated supplies when it came to menstruation," she added.
Sanjana believes, along with safety, sustainability is an important factor. As RutuChakra reaches out to women under 18, they are educated about sanitary napkins and are supplied reusable sanitary pads. However, for those above 18, options such as menstrual cups are recommended.
RutuChakra has supported over 550 girls and women, distributed 33,000 sanitary napkins and conducted over 11 workshops so far.
Sanjana said she was waiting to turn 18 so that she could have her NGO registered. "For now, I have a team that is passionate -- school students from various backgrounds," she said.
Sanjana hopes to pursue a career in either molecular biology or biotechnology.