The WE Project Women`s Empowerment Program is initiated to help adolescent girls and poor women in rural areas of India. The program has its main objectives:
1. Health counseling and mentorship through a female health worker & keeping girls in school, informed about their sexual health and supplying affordable sanitary pads to girls who are menstruating.
2. Health counseling and mentoring Self Help Groups (women) Members through female health worker & supplying affordable sanitary pads in rural areas.
Taj Foundation with the support of many other supporters is on a social mission of empowering these underprivileged college girls and rural women by educating them about the significance of maintaining menstrual hygiene and providing them with affordable quality sanitary pads.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
Have you ever wondered why there is such a large scale school dropout rate of adolescent girls in rural India? Why those girls never see the face of a college and complete their education?Do you believe in giving equal rights to the women of your country and want them to contribute in the development and progress of the country? A progressive society is the one which respects and treats its women with dignity and as equals. But the fact is that for ages women have had to fight for their basic rights. Consider an issue like the menstrual hygiene and health of the adolescent girls and women of India which impacts their self-confidence, dignity, health, education and their economic participation in the work force of the country. The onset of menstruation becomes a cause of concern and embarrassment for them. Instead of celebrating the transformation from a girl to a young lady it becomes their source of downfall in the form of humiliation and an obstacle to their education and financial independence in life.
Menstruation and menstrual hygiene related discussions are still a taboo in the Indian villages and across a large section of the urban society even now. As a result these women and young girls are unaware of the hygiene related practices that they should be adopting and their adverse health impacts on them. Out of the 355 million reproductive age women and girls in India, only 12 percent use sanitary pads during their periods. The rest of them resort to old cloth pieces, husk, ash, dried leaves and grass or newspapers. Shocking! Isn’t it? More shocking is the fact that these unhygienic and unsanitary practices lead to a lot of infections such as fungal infections, urinary tract infection, reproductive tract infections(RTI), cervical cancer etc. which can cause infertility and even death.
Lack of menstrual hygiene management is a major reason for majority of the girls skipping schools during their periods and eventually dropping out at an early age and missing out on their education. With nearly 255 million adolescent girls who are affected in the country, this is a matter ofgrave concern as it can be detrimental to the country’s image and economic progress. For these poor women and girls who can barely manage one square meal in a day, the luxury of affording sanitary pads is a far-fetched dream. The need of the hour is to improve the quality of life ofthese poor women and girls by providing them with affordable and easily accessible sanitary pads which gives them freedom and protection from their monthly dilemma and discomfort and allows them to lead a safe, healthy and dignified life which is a basic right of every Indian citizen.
How will this project solve this problem?
Taj Foundation will conduct health programmes in schools which in turn will affect the entire community through training students to act as peer leaders about reproductive health, distribution of sanitary pads to girls in school. Health programmes will be conducted with SHG members to counsel and mentor them about health & distribution of sanitary pads.
Initially Taj foundation will start intervention to empower 5000 school girls in Agra district of western UP & 2000 SHG Women Members’ in Sultanpur district of eastern UP. Early data show that the programs have had a remarkable impact.
Potential Long Term Impact
Early data show that the program has had a remarkable impact. Girls in schools with peer-educators are better informed about reproductive health and more comfortable with discussing issues around menstruation, puberty and relationships with boys.
Appeal to Support the Campaign
Taj Foundation encourages and welcomes NRI’s, corporate, individuals, government and educational institutions to join them by contributing and participating in this noble cause. Donors, sponsor partners can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile- 09873569379. All the contributors will be duly acknowledged and recognized and will get a tax exemption for their contribution.