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Menstrual Hygiene Workshop - Jul/2023

How do I start? Where do I start from? The subject itself is undebated though it is of utmost importance and significant for the very continuation of the human race -"Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene". Regarded as forbidden and unclean, not many even say the word let alone talk about it openly. "Periods" and "Chums" are some of the words used to refer to it. While humankind has landed on Mars now, we are still years away from the acceptance of menstruation as a normal biological cycle.

At EK-ASHA Trust, we believe in holistic development of individuals, where education is more than just academics. It's about empowering children to think critically, feel compassionately, and act skilfully. This holistic approach is at the heart of everything we do, and it includes promoting menstrual hygiene among underprivileged girls, their mothers, and women from rural tribal villages. We therefore designed workshops on Menstrual Hygiene to bring awareness among them.

Once a Taboo..not always a Taboo

Why Menstrual Hygiene? 

Menstrual hygiene is not just a biological matter; it's a social issue with far-reaching implications such as stigma, dignity, comfort, missing out schools etc. We strive to break the silence surrounding menstruation, normalize conversations, and instil confidence in both girls and mothers.

We believe every girl deserves access to knowledge, support, and the freedom to manage her menstrual cycle with confidence. We aim to empower them to manage their periods with dignity and comfort. This, in turn, allows them to stay in school, participate actively, and reach their full potential. Educating mothers is equally important, as they become equipped to guide their daughters and advocate for their well-being within their communities.

When & Who?

Our first workshop was held on July 16th, 2023 focused on educating our girls about how and what to do when it's that time of the month for them. Our OTC, comprises of students between the ages of 11-15 years. The age when a child reaches puberty, a step closer to being an adult. During this period between childhood and adolescence, our body goes through various layers of rapid physical, cognitive, and psychosocial growth. Some are explainable and some are not. Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the topic, the mentors were extremely careful and curated through simple presentations. 70 tribal girls from 4 of our centres in 2 Districts (Tainsar & Kailash village centres in Deogarh district along with Telkoi & Bhagamunda centres in Keonjhar district) took part in this workshop.

Unwrapping the box! How?

The awareness of menstrual hygiene started with a short relatable story about a young girl, using simple and interactive presentations. We then covered the basics of menstrual hygiene, emphasising the importance of proper practices and dispelling myths. The girls actively participated, asking questions and openly discussing their concerns. The session started with silence inhibitions, uneasiness, nervousness, and the initial shyness as expected. Slowly the session started to be interactive and friendly when the mentors shared their menstruation stories, their excruciating pain, and their complaints.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Time for some YOGA

We incorporated a Yoga workshop designed by our yoga expert, Sreedevi Choudhary to provide them with tools to manage menstrual discomfort. We were thrilled to see student's participation during the follow-up yoga workshop.

"Teach a woman, teach a generation" is a well-known saying. Recognising the crucial role mothers play in guiding their daughters, we expanded our reach to include mothers from the Think Centre villages. Nearly 80 mothers and village women participated in our second workshop led by Dr. Padmaja Mishra. With over 23 years of experience as a medical officer in both government and private sectors, she has focused on addressing reproductive and adolescent health issues in underserved communities, including slums, outskirts of Bhubaneswar, old age homes, homes for destitute and mentally ill individuals, and de-addiction centres. Additionally, she has conducted informative classes on adolescent health in government schools to empower young individuals with essential knowledge about their well-being.

Creating a safe space...

Dr. Mishra created a safe space for mothers to voice their questions and concerns about their daughters' menstrual health. She provided them with accurate information about the menstrual cycle, hygiene practices, and addressing common challenges. This interactive session fostered understanding and empowered mothers to support their daughters confidently.

A class of self-empowerment

These workshops were more than just information sessions; they were a step towards breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation and empowering both girls and their mothers with essential knowledge about menstrual hygiene. Menstrual hygiene challenges are not confined to one region or country. Women and girls all over the world face difficulties accessing clean water, sanitation, and affordable menstrual products. Cultural barriers and stigmas further compound these issues, often leading to social exclusion and a lack of education on menstrual health. The people still are hesitant for whatever reasons. However, we aimed at:

  • Combating the taboo, misinformation, and social stigma:

Menstruation is often shrouded in silence and shame, leading to girls feeling isolated and unable to manage their cycles hygienically. Our workshops addressed this by providing accurate information in a supportive environment.

  • Promoting overall health and well-being:

Good menstrual hygiene practices are essential for maintaining good reproductive health. Educating girls and their mothers can help prevent infections and other health problems.

  • Building confidence and self-esteem:

When girls understand and manage their menstrual cycles effectively, they feel more confident and in control. They don't look down upon themselves being dirty, instead, they celebrate womanhood and the power of creation.

  • Improving school attendance during menstrual cycles:

When girls understand and manage their menstrual cycles effectively, they can positively impact their overall well-being and educational attainment.

Ek-Asha Trust remains committed to supporting the holistic development of underprivileged children and their families. Join us in our mission to educate and empower – together, we can make a difference!

Kudos and gratitude to our team of volunteers including Pallipuspa Samal, Utkalika Behuria, Durgesh Dash, Manashi Dash, Sreedevi Choudhary, Rupali Pattanaik, and Anandita Kanhar, for organizing this series of workshops across our Think Centres. Sincere thanks to Dr. Padmaja Mishra for her guidance throughout the process.

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In villages still discussion on this subject is considered as taboo but kudos to Ek Asha team who took up this subject and did a commendable job.


Well narrated Bagmita for such a difficult topic. Really appreciate your blogging skills.

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