Menstruation, an Unaccepted Truth
While on one hand women have reached the moon, there is no change in the status of women of Bundelkhand even today. This was proved once again when two peer educators of Samriddi Project in Bhawanipurwa village, 7 km away from Basaari cluster in Rajnagar block of Chhatarpur district. Cluster coordinator Sunita Srivastava used to organise all the activities assigned under the project like cluster meetings, sessions, health camps, etc., on a regular basis.
After some time two peer educators from the village declined to continue as peer educators in the project. On probing they said that their families were not allowing them to attend any session or meeting in the project. The cluster coordinator suggested them to attend this meeting and she would visit their homes and talk to parents later. In the end when travelling allowance was being given to the participants of the meeting, the girls refused to take money on the plea that they were discontinuing. But on persuasion they accepted the money.
The next day the cluster coordinator visited home of one peer educator Sanjana. The family members greeted her well. Sanjana’s elder sister said that family of Shivangi (the other peer educator) was not allowing her to take part in the activities and because of this Sanjana was also not able to take part.
After much probing Sanjana’s elder sister said that you took class on menstruation hygiene which was not accepted by the family. “Our culture does not allow us to talk with girls on such topics. This is natural and all girls will understand this by themselves. We also did the same and nobody taught us,” she said.
The cluster coordinator than visited Shivani’s family and talked to her aunty and mother, but they did not agree to send their daughter for the activities. She explained that talking on menstruation was normal and this was right time to talk with her daughter on such topics as she too did same with her daughter. If we would not explain these important subjects and become shy to talk on such things than later it will be difficult for the daughters to handle the situation.
After detailing other things also in the Pehchan Module -1 they somehow agreed to send Shivani in meeting. She said, “it is very difficult for us to accept such things but you are educated hence if you are saying that it is necessary to educate girls on this that we will support you.”
Now Shivani and Sanjana are attending all the meetings and actively conducting sessions for their groups also.