IWB Completes ‘Cold Period’ Campaign With Readers’ Help And Distributes More Menstrual Cups
- IWB Post
- March 3, 2018
Back in December, IWB had launched the campaign ‘Cold Period’ with an aim to help homeless women manage their period. While the most obvious solution would have been to give them a packet of sanitary pads, it would only last for a few months, and neither could they afford to buy one again. So we decided to give them menstrual cups and educate them about how to use it.
A menstrual cup is supposed to work fine for over a decade, and the fact that it can be used for multiple period cycles is what helped us conceptualise #ColdPeriod – a campaign to help menstruating women living on the streets.
We invited environmentalist and designer of RUTU menstrual cup, Seema Pardeshi Khandale, to be a part of our on-ground campaign, wherein we personally met more than 50 women living on the streets, and introduced them to menstrual cups.
Seema’s Mumbai-based NGO, Ashay Social Group, promotes environmental conservation. One of its top agendas is to encourage Indian women to start using menstrual cups and, in turn, stop producing non-recyclable period waste. “The fact that it stops us from mindlessly using and throwing sanitary napkins was the aspect that played the most important role in helping me get rid of my apprehensions. I learnt that a study had proven that upon absorbing vaginal fluid, the chemical used in pads forms a chemical dioxin, 0.02% of which penetrates in our body during every cycle.”
As a part of the campaign, we visited some slum areas of Jaipur, met the women, interacted with them about the importance of menstrual hygiene, and after distributing our period packs, educated them about the benefits of the cup, and how to use it. And their response made us confident that they, who had been dealing with wet cloth pieces until now, would find menstrual cups effective in many ways. And the women were indeed receptive and interested.
But this was in December, and it had been two months, so we thought of going on a follow-up round. And happy as they were on receiving the period packs and cup, much happier they seemed this time, sharing their feedback on how they were using it. It was nothing short of an overwhelming experience, listening to each one of them say ‘thank you so much’ in their own ways! (play the video attached)
So, we went back to get the #feedback on the use #RUTUcups by all the #homeless #women who were a part of our #ColdPeriod Campaign. And it was an overwhelming experience! Not only have these women successfully used the #menstrualcups but they are also educating other women about #sanitary health. This campaign wasn’t very easy to execute but the wonderful feedback just added wings to our aspirations. #REWIND: We started the #ColdPeriod campaign to help homeless women manage their #periods during the winter season. We had visited the streets of Jaipur with the social worker Seema Khandale to educate women about the use of #menstrualcups. Thousands of women struggle with their periods in extremely #unhygienic #sanitary environment. And the issue will not be resolved in a day. So, we pledge to continue our mission. Check our #InstaStories for more updates on this. . If you wish to contribute, we request you to contact us on +919828288876. You can help us reach out more women by sponsoring these cups (costing INR 555/-) & #donating any desired amount. Also, you can also give out a self-made ‘Period-Pack’ to the needy women near you. The pack may contain menstrual cup, a pair of socks, and soap for cleaning. You may add more things as per your wish, wrapped with love. It’s an attempt to spread #awareness so that more people make a conscious effort at bringing warmth into the lives of these women. Will you join us? . . #homelesswomen #helpthembleedsafe #bleeding #menstrualcup #menstruation #hygiene #periodblood
43 Likes, 1 Comments – Indian Women Blog (@indianwomenblog) on Instagram: “So, we went back to get the #feedback on the use #RUTUcups by all the #homeless #women who were a…”
But the one thing that left us feeling ‘mission accomplished’ was when we found out that not only had these women successfully used the menstrual cups, but they also educated other women about menstrual health. This campaign wasn’t very easy to execute, but the wonderful feedback has added wings to our aspirations.
Oh and, do you remember we’d met this one woman who was pregnant with her second child and was expected to go into labor any time? We remembered her for her sincere inquisitiveness; she had asked Seema whether the cup is useful for the post-delivery time.
To which Seema’s reply was, “After childbirth, the nursing women suffer extreme blood flow during periods. Instead of using sanitary/maternity pads that will cost you a fortune, try using the menstrual cup that is excellent for storing period blood without any leakage. All you have to do it empty and clean it every 2-3 hours before reinserting it.” Good news being, we got to meet her little baby on our trip this time, and she’s completely satisfied with the cup, too.
But post our trip, we found ourselves introspecting about the campaign that aimed to help homeless women manage their periods during the winter season. The issue is such that it can’t be resolved in a day. And we’re glad to share that with the help of a few of our readers, we recently conducted the final leg of the campaign and distributed cups to 20 more women.
As curious and interested as the women we had met before, they, too, were encouraged to use the cup upon the knowledge of how it could improve their menstrual hygiene. And once again, began the informative and fun instruction drill. Our team member, Anvita, sat with them and explained, “This cup is to be worn in the vagina from where the blood comes out. All you’ve to do is press it from one side using a finger and gently push it inside. Once inside, it gets back to its standard shape that collects the menstrual blood without any leakage. During the heavy-flow days, you must remove and empty it every 3-4 hours. Other days, it can be used for straight 10-12 hours.”
And given our earlier experiences, we weren’t surprised when one after the other, flowed in their queries. Which we thought of sharing with you here, perhaps it could answer some obvious questions that the mention of ‘menstrual cup’ brings in your mind, too.
Will the cup get stuck inside me?
The vaginal canal is only a small place where the cup sits and collects the menstrual fluid. There is no extra space for the cup to get lost inside.
Will it fit inside me?
Menstrual cups can look overwhelming and big at first, however, you must consider that it gets folded while inserting and then opens to form a seal in the vagina. They are pliable to flex and accommodate the size of your vagina so even though it may look big, it is painless and safe to use for effective period protection.
Will I have to remove it when I pee?
The opening that you urinate/pee from, called the ‘urethra’, is different from the vagina. So the cup will not come in the way or fall out.
I am pregnant, but sometimes I still spot. Can I use the cup for times like this?
You should not use the cup while you are pregnant. The vaginal canal should always be kept clear during this time, even in early stages, for safety reasons. Also because you pH level are extremely sensitive due to chemical changes in your body during pregnancy. Women are very prone to vaginal infections during pregnancy, and so wearing something inside the vagina is not advised.
Can I use it for birth control or STD protection?
No, a menstrual cup cannot be used for birth control or STD protection. Also, you cannot wear a cup during sexual intercourse. These cups are worn low in the vagina, and can interfere during sex.
IWB is excited to take this initiative of ours to cities outside Jaipur, Rajasthan. If you want to extend your help, please write to us at – firstname.lastname@example.org.