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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

This Winter, IWB Is Introducing Homeless Women To Menstrual Cups With Activist Seema Pardeshi

  • IWB Post
  •  December 22, 2017

This Christmas, IWB decided to help homeless women manage their period. Along with environmentalist and founder of menstrual cup RUTU, Seema Pardeshi, we’re organizing an on-ground campaign wherein we personally meet women who live on the streets and introduce them to menstrual cups.

Through our campaign ‘Cold Period,’ we aim to find a long-lasting solution for menstruating women who can’t afford sanitary napkins, which is why we decided to buy them menstrual cups and educate them about how to use it. We’re confident that these women, who have been dealing with wet cloth pieces until now, will find menstrual cup effective in many ways.

Yesterday, we headed to a nearby footpath and met about 10 women who enthusiastically listened to Seema, learned how to use menstrual cups, and accepted the ‘Winter Care Pack’ with woolens and menstrual cups inside it. Soon after, we met another group of women who earn money by selling plastic toys at busy traffic lights.

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This group mainly consisted of teen girls who didn’t know anything about periods, married women in early 20s who’ve been using the cloth, and a couple of older women who’d probably hit menopause. Irrespective of the diversity, all of them agreed to join our footpath-classroom and learn all about periods and the female reproductive system.

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An amused Seema said, “I like how the women we’ve been meeting are so inquisitive. You’ll often notice them being strong and authoritative, unlike popular belief. Can you see how, in spite of their husbands’ disapproval, they are still sitting with us?”

She then proceeded to show them the menstrual cup and demonstrated the process of inserting it into the vagina-model, removing and cleaning it.

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“Does it hurt when it is inside,” enquired Sharmila, a 22-year-old newlywed. To which, Seema answered, “Not at all! You can walk, run, sleep, and sit while wearing a menstrual cup. It can also be used during the rainy season, unlike pads and cloth pieces. I’m wearing one at the moment!”

Another questioned, “This is the first time that I’m witnessing a product like this. Can I touch it?” Only after all of them touched and squeezed the cup were they satisfied that it was a soft material uniquely designed for a sensitive body part like the vagina.

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Wherever Seema travels, she always carries a booklet that has pictures of the female reproductive system to explain the method of cup-insertion to menstruating women. So whether it is at a school where she is conducting a workshop or in a Mumbai local train, she never loses a chance to provide full information to girls and women she comes across.

After Seema was done, the oldest woman finally spoke up, “I understand what you’re trying to explain here but I have a concern. Women in our community don’t usually wear underwear. How is this small cup going to stay in place?” Seema smiled and replied, “I am well aware of this habit, and therefore, I’m insisting you to try the cup once. The cup has this amazing ability to stick to the vaginal skin and not come out unless you pull its end in the downward direction.”

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Following this, Seema demonstrated the process all over again.

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As we had guessed, some men from the community gathered around to understand the agenda of the discussion. One of them, seemingly worried, asked, “Madam, will this object affect my wife’s pregnancy in any way?”

According to Seema, informing men about menstruation is equally essential. Remember when she told us Menstrual talks need to find a place in our routine a few days ago? This social entrepreneur took no time to educate both her sons about menstrual health which is why she finds them discussing it rather comfortably today.

Seema replied, “First of all, it is not normal to have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, and each instance of bleeding should be investigated by a doctor. However, in case of pregnancy discharge, until you keep it under the daily 12-hour limit and wash it out each time, it should be fine.”

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Before bidding this lovely bunch goodbye, Seema and Team IWB distributed the ‘Winter Care Package’ among them. Inside each pack, there was a menstrual cup that Seema makes, a warm shawl, a pair of woolen socks, an antiseptic soap, and some candies for their little ones.

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We’re grateful to Seema who came down to Jaipur from Mumbai for the cause. If you wish to buy these menstrual cups, you can get in touch with Seema at +91- 99300 25807. If you’re planning to conduct the ‘Cold Period’ campaign in your city, get in touch with us at +91-9828288876.

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