The simple natural process of Menstruation is frequently ridiculed, along with all the shame and taboo related to it. Unusually in India, the stigma linked with a woman bleeding every month leads to poor hygiene among a huge section of Indian women. The menstruation cycle in a woman’s body leads to significant aspects like ovulation and reproduction, but still, it is not addressed openly and is often mocked by people. Countless women in India grow up thinking and confronting taboos around this common biological occurrence. 

Yet in recent years, things are improving gradually, and to challenge the taboos and myths around menstruation numerous individuals and organizations are spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene across the country. One such youthful voice who is acting uprightly towards this cause is an 18-year-old girl Sanya Tyagi. Hailing from the city of Ghaziabad, Sanya has recently finished her schooling. And this young girl is firmly determined to work with a youth-initiated organization named "Period Protection Project", founded by Sukanya Biswas.

Sanya Tyagi

The youthful girl and her friends have stimulated the project of distributing sanitary pads along with spreading awareness in different parts of Ghaziabad. Together, Sanya and her team have conducted two drives till now and distributed around 70 packages of sanitary products to girls and women who can’t afford them. It is necessary to realize that access to such menstrual hygiene products is vital to improving menstrual health and hygiene. However, not only a fraction of women in our country use sanitary products during menstruation.

Women use sanitary pads and other products based on their financial condition, availability, knowledge, and cultural background, and thus it is crucial to talk about this matter and support the basic hygiene requirements. Sanya has extensively worked on this matter and began a small initiative from her site to assist the women who are unaware of these products or the ones who can’t manage them.

The social and cultural connections on people also create a major hurdle in ensuring that adolescent girls are aware of menstrual hygiene. In October, Sanya Tyagi along with some other volunteers organized a Menstrual Awareness Session, which was conducted by the Director of Janani Maternity Centre and Gynaecologist Sarika Gupta. School-going girls aged between 12-16 attended this session which was directed on menstrual health and the myths surrounding periods. Sanitary pads were similarly distributed to the girls, with all the necessary discussions on using and disposing of them. A considerably large number of girls in numerous limited economically stable families drop out when they begin menstruating.

According to a 2014 report by NGO Dasra, nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually in India due to a lack of proper menstrual hygiene facilities in schools.

Over the years, the number may have declined, but the problem still prevails in different parts of the country.

Sanya Tyagi and her team believe that their project may have begun on a limited scale, but they have been thriving to positively impact the lives of many women who need support in their menstrual health. And as responsible citizens of India, everyone must do something for the underprivileged section of our society. As a youth, Sanya has a very strong opinion that we are the catalyst of bringing change in the mindset of the people, and it requires a lot of time to change something prevalent in our society for so long, but the key is to take the first step and start somewhere. 

While for most people, youth is a time of chaos and uncertainty, Sanya is being an uplifting example for India’s youth. Young people like her are sincerely offering for social causes as leaders, volunteers, role models, building an impact, and making the right change in our society.

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