PassOnThePad aims to help 10,000 girls

Updated: May 30, 2020, 07:49 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

After helping nearly 13,000 across the city, Deane De Menezes starts fundraiser to ensure everyone's access to menstrual care products

RING along with its partners has distributed 2.4 lakh pads to 13,000 women in the past 30 days without a fundraiser. Pic courtesy/RING
RING along with its partners has distributed 2.4 lakh pads to 13,000 women in the past 30 days without a fundraiser. Pic courtesy/RING

Women in the slums live amid stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation and many have lost access to sanitary care during the COVID-19 lockdown, said a 26-year-old Deane De Menezes who has in the past 30 days helped 13,000 girls and women, and aims to help another 10,000 in the coming month.

Menezes, who founded Red is the New Green (RING) initiative nearly four years ago to raise awareness about menstrual health, has kicked off a campaign — #PassOnThePad — to raise funds to help more women in the city. "Given the current situation, personal hygiene should be top priority," she told mid-day. "However, due to the lockdown, women have lost access to sanitary care. With schools being shut, girls can no longer get free sanitary napkins provided to them through our vending machines, other NGOs or BMC-led programmes."

Menezes said that due to the stigma, women in slums were refraining from adding sanitary napkins to the household grocery lists, as only men are stepping out of homes to buy essentials. "This, along with the loss of regular incomes, is forcing women to return to using old cloth rags," she added. "If washed properly, cloth pads can be a great option, but women in several containment zones don't have access to clean washrooms, let alone running water. The main roadblock is accessibility, which is a common challenge for girls across age-groups, due to which we are expecting a surge in women's health issues."

Deane De Menezes
Deane De Menezes

During the initial days of the lockdown, Menezes and her team at RING noticed a dip insupply and access to menstrual hygiene products. "I personally experienced unavailability issue at my local chemist and that's when I knew we had to find a solution-oriented approach to tackle the situation." Since April first week, RING along with help from the BMC, NGO partners — Rotary Club of Bombay and the UNICEF — has been going door-to-door to distribute sanitary napkins to those in need. They also partnered with UNICEF's Jeevan Rath programme to ensure the frontline workers have access to menstrual care products. "With the help of our partners, we have distributed 2,39,132 sanitary napkins to 13,000 women."

How to #PassOnThePad

Menezes said they are hosting a virtual "period party" on May 30 and 31 where renowned faces like Dia Mirza, Tisca Chopra, Faye D'Souza would talk about menstrual awareness and spread a positive message. "We are also looking at raising funds through these sessions to donate napkins to 10,000 girls and women," she said. "We will host virtual workshops, and have a therapist to discuss why some women maybe experiencing severe Premenstrual syndrome during the lockdown. It is a virtual fundraiser and those who are willing to donate, can log on to our Instagram page, access these workshops and make a donation through: https://www.impactguru.com/fundraiser/help-red-is-the-new-green," she added.

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