“Women’s health as a concept is usually considered taboo and most often than not, brushed under the carpet by many households. And it’s to the extent that even the male members of a family have no clue of necessary topics like menstruation and puberty.
I saw this happen in my own circle when I was conditioned to handle things quietly and discouraged from even talking to my own father. Just the word ‘period’ evoked uncomfortable stares. So, with no choice, I had to oblige then but something about it felt wrong from within. Subsequently, when I went on to pursue medicine, witnessing the staggering number of cervical cancers and other menstrual disorders was proof enough on the need to create awareness.
In fact, it was that data that pushed me to take my first proper step. And I knew that I had to start from the underprivileged sections because there was much more restraint over these subjects there than other educated crowds.
So I started project Mahanadi, an initiative to educate the youth on essential topics surrounding puberty and health. It began with me reaching out to multiple orphanages and schools in the city and gradually expanding it to at least one session a month with the kids. What’s better was to be able to explain everything clearly, in medical terms, to both boys and girls, in turn making the whole genre comfortable to be spoken about.
Next, in an attempt to improve further, I started saving funds by modelling part-time and pooled it in for procuring sanitary napkins. The step seemed small but again, it made a whole lot of difference to the hygiene of the girls.
Of course, seeing all this, my parents were extremely concerned but luckily there soon came an opportunity that left my mother in tears. It was a presentation in an orphanage that catered to patients with AIDS. Seeing the impact of what I taught there assured her of her daughter’s larger cause! It also helped me to put the naysayers to rest!
Going forward I want to reach out to as many people as possible. We all have one life and I believe what matters at the end, is the difference we’ve made to this world!”