Shailja Chaudhery, 26 years old living in Lucknow, also known as pad girl ,converting PERIODS Myths into an Informative way in a Better Reproductive Health and distributing free sanitary napkins to 720 women and girls of urban slums of Lucknow and rural areas like Unnao ,Rae Bareli, Barabanki villages through her Campaign.
Stop Stigma End Period Poverty in a Positive manner with Dignity .
Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced. Yet in society, this is the most hidden blood – the one so rarely spoken of and rarely seen, except privately by women.
I started bleeding when I was 13. At that age, I was unaware about periods and on my first bleeding day, I got sh*t scared if I had incurred any injury. I discussed it with my mother and without any further discussion she gave me a – Pad, and I don’t know what to do with it? What is Period? What is a Pad? How to use a Pad? No, we’ve never been told about any of those things. Unfortunately, we don’t belong to the Google-generation. After a week from my Menarche, I was finally informed about periods at a workshop conducted in my school. I am grateful to those pretty girls gang for enlightening me on this subject.
That was the age when most girls in my class started bleeding. One day, one of my friends started bleeding. That was her first and she wasn’t aware of it. No one came forward to help her as they have been instructed to do so- ‘Do not look at period blood.’ ‘Do not share your period details with any of your friends.’ ‘It’s bad to talk about Period Blood.’ It was then I stepped forward and helped my friend.
That incident motivated me to do something for girls & women, Self-Help Groups, CBOs living in rural areas and urban slums.
And In 2018 March I had started an initiative – Akshay Foundation , with a focus on women health, hygiene & sanitation, and livelihood. We named our organization ‘Akshay’ , getting Inspiration from Akshay Kumar movie PADMAN .I also run many health & Hygiene awareness campaigns under ‘Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA)’. Where, on the 9th of every month, we visit villages in & around Lucknow, Bijnour, Natkur, Unnao, Raibareilly, and educate girls and women about periods and provide them free AKSHAY Hygienic Kits (SAP gel) with update calendar to help them keep a check on their menstrual cycle.
Of course, periods don’t stop for pandemic. And so, we are continuing our work to make sanitary pads, sanitizers, hygiene kits, and lingerie, easily accessible & affordable to the underprivileged. Through our campaign- ‘StopStigmaEndPeriodPoverty’, we are trying to educate women to be vocal and to break the stigma & myths around periods in a positive manner.
Think PERIODS POSITIVE. Embrace it with dignity as it is the most important part of our reproductive health. Spread awareness instead of spreading myths. Don’t be ashamed of your Periods; if you are ashamed now, the next generation will too follow you.