Health Education Breaking Taboos
Our friend from India, Urmilla Churnam, an award winning human rights activist gives health education to our girls. She teaches them about menstrual hygiene, hepatitis, cleanliness and maternal health. She teaches this alongside Sister Zeph through skype to the adolescences at school and young women at our skills center.
“My goal is to end the myths, taboos, stigma and shame associated with menstruation in India and different parts of the world because menstruation is a life-giving natural phenomenon and cultural traits which propagate that it is dirty and menstruating girls and women are impure are against their human rights. Menstruation and ability to manage it hygienically involves a (1)supportive environment where a growing up girl can seek information, sympathy, support and solution to her concerns and anxieties about the body changes of adolescence and care required (2) products that she can use to absorb menstrual blood and facilities and infrastructure like toilet, clean water supply and soap to wash her body, hands and soiled clothes (3) facilities to dispose used sanitary materials that are safe for environment and give privacy. Research show only 48% of girls in India are aware of menstruation prior to menarche, just 36% menstruating girls and women are using sanitary napkins and 1 billion non- compostable sanitary pads are causing environment hazard in India every month! What are the factors that have contributed to these needs to go unfulfilled and unconsidered in our families, communities, schools and offices and in our government initiatives? The obsession with the boy child, lack of value for a girl child to the extent of gender- based abortions going to alarming levels, and the deep gender inequality in our homes are the reasons that girls and women in India face serious issues around menstruation. Imagine a world where boys and men menstruated? Would menstruation still be considered dirty, would there still be a lack of clean sanitary material?”- Urmila Chanam
Below you will see that Urmila is so dedicated to her work that she even teaches the Zeph girls in Pakistan over Skype when she can!