Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Project Pavitra: Spreading Menstrual Education, Health and Hygiene Programme for Adolescent Girls

By Dr Aruna Shukla

“Women bring together the finest aspects of society. A mother is our first guru, our first teacher. Women can be strong peacemakers; at home, in the community, in society and in the world. Women can glue differences and bring people of diverse natures together.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Menstruation is associated with the onset of puberty in girls and many a times, it brings with it a lot of rules, restrictions, isolation and changed expectations from the girls by the society. This changed attitude towards girls such as restrictions on their self-expression, schooling, mobility and freedom has far reaching consequences on the mindset of women.

The physical changes that occur during puberty and the lack of safe, hygienic menstrual practices has created a complex, heavy silence around this natural physiological phenomenon. Therefore, a positive attitude towards menstruation and menstrual practices needs to be inculcated in the girl child at the onset of menarche.

The unhygienic menstrual practices followed by girls/women would often lead to increased vulnerability to RTI’s, PID’s and other complications. Therefore, good menstrual hygiene is crucial for health, education and dignity of girls and women. It is important to make menstrual hygiene a part of health education for the girl child.

It is necessary to educate people about hygiene at all levels starting with ourselves to keep up the good work. Art of living Foundation (AOLF) is a non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization founded in 1981 by the world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. All of AOLF’s programs are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.” It is present in 156 countries across the world. AOLF offers numerous highly effective educational and self-development programs and tools that facilitate the elimination of stress and foster deep and profound inner peace, happiness and well-being for all individuals. These programs, which include breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living, have helped millions around the world to completely transform their lives.

The girls learn breathing techniques, effective yoga asanas and meditation, which makes them better equipped, both physically and mentally, to deal with discomfort during their menstrual cycle. They are also given information about the different kinds of sanitary napkins and how to best use and dispose them, keeping hygiene as well as the environment in mind. The myths and misconceptions regarding menstruation are elaborated playfully in the form of a skit, making it enjoyable and easy learning for the girls

AOLF in association with IAHV (International Association for Human Values) has created Project Pavitra- an initiative for enhancing adolescent girl’s menstrual health and hygiene. The project aims to generate awareness amongst adolescent girls about menstrual health and hygiene via sensitization workshop. Project Pavitra provides adolescent girls a better understanding of the changes they undergo during puberty and knowledge of menstrual hygiene practices. They are also taught about the importance of food and nutrition in growth and development. It provides a supportive environment for adolescent girls to grow up without shame and with confidence in themselves.

The girls learn breathing techniques, effective yoga asanas and meditation, which makes them better equipped, both physically and mentally, to deal with discomfort during their menstrual cycle. They are also given information about the different kinds of sanitary napkins and how to best use and dispose them, keeping hygiene as well as the environment in mind. The myths and misconceptions regarding menstruation are elaborated playfully in the form of a skit, making it enjoyable and easy learning for the girls.

A growing team of 3000 plus dynamic women volunteer trainers of the Art of Living are spreading the knowledge of holistic and sustainable menstrual practices.  Women are built to give. They have a natural desire to help and make a difference. Keeping the spirit high with their determination, 5 trainers of Team Project Pavitra – Anu Goyal (An AOL Teacher) from Uttaranchal (India), Dr. Aruna Shukla (Consultant Psychologist and AOL volunteer) from Oman, Raj Gill (AOL volunteer) from Mumbai (India), Aditi Khandekar (Company Secretary and an AOL teacher) from Mumbai (India), and Yashika (Medical Student and AOL volunteer) made the difference in adolescent girls and women. Over 400 females from India and all over the gulf countries participated in various workshops and felt more learned and responsible about taking care of their bodies. Team Pavitra is very determined and they make all efforts to reach out and educate each and every women about menstruation.

 

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