The women from Kanakapura taluka quickly took to the cup, understanding the pragmatic value it added to their routines as well as to the environment
When in the 21st century, many women from developed, educated backgrounds still stigmatise menstruation and shy away from conversations about vaginal hygiene, 8,000 women from 36 villages in the Kanakapura taluk of Bengaluru have adopted menstrual cups through a massive healthcare programme.
This women-driven project was started two years ago and was undertaken by Asan (menstrual cup company) with the support of Belaku Trust. Prior to this project, older women from Kanakapura taluk were using rags and younger ones were using pads while on their periods. Rags were a huge problem due to the extreme discomfort they caused, their unhygienic nature and the difficulty women faced while cleaning them.
Women from these rural settlements always tried to hide their menstrual status but unlike their urban counterparts, they had different challenges to face. “They’d stay up till 2 am at night and wash their rags or clothes and then dry them discreetly. Younger women mostly bought poor-quality pads due to lack of options and suffered due to the absence of a waste management system. They would store soiled pads under their beds at home and burn them at the end of their cycles, again at midnight,” Ira Guha, founder of Asan.
“The women did not have too much trouble in switching to the cup. Being both active workers and domestic caretakers, they quickly took to the cup by understanding the pragmatic value it added to their routines. The women say this has enabled savings, higher productivity, and better health and wellbeing.” She added.
Jyothi Theresraj, a resident of Kanakapura and programme manager at Belaku Trust, was instrumental in effectuating this transition. “I met Ira two years ago, before that I had not heard about menstrual cups. We tried with 10 women and after hearing about their positive experiences with it, more came forward,” she said.
Jyothi along with her team went door-to-door for a year, talking about the menstrual cup and its usage, showing women educational videos on it and explaining how low-maintenance it was. After distributing 2,500 cups in 10 villages, Ira extended the initiative to another 26 hamlets. We hope soon more women will have access to menstrual cups and will switch to it as they are beneficial for women’s health as well as for the environment.
Credits: The Times of India
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- Staff Reporter