Malar Trust India organised a series of workshops about menstruation and associated issues for women belonging to the tribal communities of the villages where we work. The four sessions were delivered in collaboration with the Institution of Research and Development for Rural Poor Trust (IRDRP) and the Consortium of Health Associations in India (CHAI) which jointly financed the project.
Over 100 women attended the four workshops which provided knowledge on the functioning of the female body and basic hygiene information..
A state nurse, who visits our villages periodically to monitor the health of the inhabitants, especially pregnant women and children, delivered the first of the sessions. One of our students, who has been in our scholarship program since high school and is now in the final year of a medicine degree , delivered the other three.
Asking our student to speak was a big success. Being the speaker very young, many women, especially younger girls, felt confident to ask questions and explore a variety of issues – which is unusual for extremely shy Irula girls.
Attendees learnt not to be alarmed in the event of abdominal pain or heavier flows, not to take medicines without a prescription, how to use sanitary towels and when to replace them and not to use fabrics or other materials.
The women were also taught about the symptoms of the most common vaginal infections and the possible reasons why menstruation can stop. Finally, they received some advice on birth control, with information about the voluntary sterilization plan that the Government offers for free.
At the end of the meetings, sanitary towels were distributed to all those attending and a small supply was left in the after-school centres for women who might need them in the future.