With today being Menstrual hygiene day, a Bangalore-based Manipuri girl named Urmila Chanam, has been trying her best to dispel myths about menstruation through her campaigns titled “Breaking the Silence” and “Celebrating the Red Droplets”. She is single-handedly implementing the campaign and has for two years been trying to understand the stigma, taboo and myths associated with menstruation in our culture.
While talking to journalists of different media organisations, she said what moved her to do something was the fact that women in rural India did not even have access to basic sanitation. She added that the Menstrual Hygiene Day posed as an amazing opportunity to finally create an impact.
Chanam was awarded the Laadli media and Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity in the year 2013. She chose Facebook to launch her campaign and has taken help of social media to develop different programmes.
She added that menstrual blood is not impure and the stigma that is attached to the whole menstrual event needs to be abolished so that there is an enabling environment for young women. The discomfort that women experience with talking about menstruation is not only widely prevalent in India but also in other Asian as well as African countries. This stigma has prevented mothers from de-mystifying menstruation to their daughters and so on. Urmila stressed on the importance of being aware about pain management, discomfort, cramps as well as psychological effects of menstruation.
Urmila has taken her efforts to the international level by getting in touch with likeminded organisations; this she hopes would make sure that her campaign reaches as many people as possible.
What is interesting about Urmila’s campaign is that she has not left the men out of her campaign. A crucial part of her campaign is called the guy test, which examines the perceptions of men regarding menstruation.
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