BREAKING THE MENSTRUAL TABOOS
A lot of us got into volunteering relief work during the lockdown. People used to distribute ration kits, which sometimes included sanitary pads and other hygiene products, to slums and other poverty prone areas. Menstrual hygiene was never given much attention as a sole problem.
We felt that we needed to combat this issue, and that is how we came up with the idea of Pad Squad. On 1st of June 2020, Pad Squad was Co-founded by Monica Raheja, Surya Balakrishnan, Taranjit Kaur, Chhitra Subramaniam, Mayuri Joshi Dhavale, Gillian Pinto and Niiya Kumar.
We simply asked people to donate sanitary napkins through social media. We received a very favorable response, and it is their contribution that has helped us grow and not remain confined to Mumbai and Pune. Today, we are present in over 26 cities with a team of more than 65 people including men in the team. Our coverage is way more than 26 cities because most of us travel beyond our hometowns to villages and other smaller towns for pad distribution drives.
Our aim is not only to distribute pads but also to break the stigmas surrounding menstruation – we want to move women towards period positivity. We include men in our conversations in order to overcome taboos and the awkwardness surrounding the issue, and the response we have received from them has been amazing. Men have been supporting our cause and helping with the initiative.
No matter how much we work, we still have a long way to go. People have difficulty accepting new menstrual hygiene care products such as menstrual cups because of the taboos regarding menstruation and sex. Not just young girls but married women refuse to use it as well. However, those who do are so happy and are encouraging other women to shift to menstrual cups.
We aim to grow multifold in the coming years and provide sustainable solutions such as menstrual cups & reusable pads.
These are environmentally friendly solutions as well.
Pad Squad is not an NGO. We are peoples’ movement, and it is their effort and contribution, which has helped us expand. If people have the will to bring about a change in our society, I encourage them to join our team.
In the end, I would like to say that the pandemic brought out the humane side in us. So, let’s hold on to that and keep helping those in need and make a few lives better because every effort counts.