Four students from Welingkar initiated a project to create awareness for maintaining proper menstrual hygiene. Aptly titled, Sensitizing Sanitation, the project is a part of competition organized by Mumbai University.
The project aims at educating women from economically weaker section on creating affordable homemade sanitary napkins. It also teaches them the tricks of disposing it without creating an unhealthy surrounding.
The team comprises of Kalpana Patel, Snehal Joshi, Chaitali Kulkarni and Payal Soni, also collectively known as Sanjeevani. Divided into two groups, the teams approached different areas in Thane Khopat area and Jogeshwari. Dr. Priyanka Sharma mentored the students on the project. The team stood first in Mumbai University New Initiative for Joint Action Now competition.
“When we met the women from those areas we came to know that most of them are shy to approach the pharmacists to buy the sanitary napkins because there are men at the counter,” said Kalpana.
According to Sanjeevani, girls are at risk of being stigmatized due to poor protection and inadequate washing facilities leading to infection.
Waste pickers are the most affected as they are exposed to micro-organisms when separating soiled napkins from recyclable items by hand. Snehal explains “Used sanitary napkins are thrown in garbage that gets mixed up with biodegradable waste which is not a good sign. Hence, we decided to teach them how to make sanitary napkins at home from cardboard and unused cloths and how to dispose it and where.”
It took the team two weeks to work on the project. The team will revisit the areas to collate responses from women.
Dr. Uday Salunkhe expressed his views on the project, “”The MUNIJAN is one such initiative where students connect with ground realities and work towards finding real-time sustainable and scalable solutions for the problems of the society. Such initiatives have the power to transform lives and lend true meaning to education. We are happy that the students chose to work on sanitary hygiene project which is sensitive, critical and often an excluded one. The Institute takes pride in their achievement, will encourage and support them to take their ideas and cause further.”