Varsity Students bust menstrual stigma among rural teens

Discussion

A group interaction in progress

Matters India Correspondent: A group of social work students in Assam organised a workshop on menstrual health and hygiene for high school girls of a rural village near Guwahati, Assam.

The workshop held at Kamarkuchi High School on 7 April, 2018 while creating awareness on menstrual hygiene, provided a platform for the teenage girls to speak out their mind on the many stigmas attached to their ‘bleeding days’.

“More than just awareness we are on a mission to stain the very stigma itself by building courage among girls to accept the fact that menstruation is part of their natural biological cycle and that there is nothing to feel shy or guilt about it,” said Ms. Memorial Khongkai the leader of MSW student workshop team from Guwahati’s Assam Don Bosco University.

According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 study about 43% of Indian women do not have access to sanitary pads and according to some other studies only about 12 % of women use sanitary napkin and the remaining using unsanitised cloths, ashes, husk and sand.

Currently there is 12% GST (Goods and Services Tax) levied on sanitary napkin making purchase of the pads prohibitive.

The findings of a study carried out by a team of social work students of ADBU in Sonapur locality in the outskirts of Guwahati too is not any different from the national findings.

Women and girls have reported of reusing washed sanitary pads, clothes, and rags; having to sleep on floor, avoiding interacting with men including ones father, and avoiding family, community and social events and places of worship during menstruating days.

Speaking on the occasion Mr. Papan Sharma a teacher of the School said that the ‘workshop on menstrual hygiene was very relevant for students considering the fact that there is very little open talk or discussion on this matter. It also serves purpose as most of our students come from a background where the parents are not educated enough to give their children appropriate guidance concerns, so such workshop will remove misconception among the girls if not with older generations.”

Sharma however, regretted that, “such discussions on menstrual hygiene are rarely carried out in schools.”

“The workshop was planned in keeping with the findings of the preliminary study carried in the community,’ said Ms. Asha Sangrola an ADBU Social Work student.

Another ADBU student Gisel Erumachadathu added, “The workshop gave a deeper understanding of the concerns that teen age girls face in family, community and society – having to abstain from interacting with men including with ones father, avoid community and social events and places of worship, having to sleep on the floor, during menstrual days .”

“Often I hide the menstrual cloth under my mekhla (Assamese traditional dress worn by girls and women), sleep on the floor, and am forced to restrict my mobility during menstruating days,” confessed Ms. Bhonti Pathak a class 9 student who shared her period experience.

Partipants

Teen Students with Social Work Students, ADBU

Citing the expressions of teen age girls like – “how I wish, I were a boy. I could have been care free like them. Being a girl is a kind of curse that restricts my life. Sometimes, I feel sad that I am a girl,” Asst. Professor, Mr. Jacob Islary of ADBU Social Work speaks of “the teen age girls developing mental health issues like depression, self-image development concerns like inferiority complex and non-acceptance of self and problem with socialisation because of avoidance and isolation caused by menstruation.”

The workshop was attended by 54 girl students of Kamarkuchi High School, Sonapur.

The study which started four months ago is guided by Asst. Professor Islary.

The student team is planning to start a movement for sanitary pad use and working on mobilising resources to make sanitary napkins available to rural teenage girls who come from poor background.

Source: Matters India- http://mattersindia.com/2018/04/varsity-students-bust-menstrual-stigma-among-rural-teens/

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Teachers attend workshop on special education

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Teachers of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Umswai

Sonapur: A team of thirty-three teachers of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Umswai, Assam attended a workshop on Special Needs of Children in School Setting organised by the department of Social Work, ADBU here today, April 4, 2018.  The workshop discussed special needs of children with learning challenges in educational setting.

Don Bosco Umswai is an interior rural school though not geographically far from the urban spaces and only about 35 kms from Jagiroad town and 70 kms from Guwahati ciry the locality do not still have mobile signal and proper transport system. There are about 800 students of which many are under scholarship programme.

 

 

Social Work students mentored by UN termed ‘symbol of women Empowerment’

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ADBU, Social Work intents with Ms. Sunita Kashyap

Sonapur/Ranikhet: A team of six senior students from the department of Social Work, ADBU who are on fieldwork/internship with Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation (Grassroots), Ranikhet, Uttrakhand have been closely mentored and guided by Ms. Sunita Kashyap, who has been termed by the UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak, as a symbol and example of women empowering themselves and coming up with solutions to their problems, Monday, 12th March 2018.

While women face challenges, “rural women act as a major source of innovation, and ideas,” he told the inaugural session of the UN Commission on Status of Women (CSW) meeting on Monday.

“Take, for example, a woman named Sunita Kashyap. Her organisation supports 3,000 women farmers in India to grow and sell their own crops… These kinds of women do not need our help, in finding solutions” he added. “What they need is our support, in turning their ideas into reality.”

Kashyap founded Mahila Umang Producers Co., an organisation in Uttarkhand run by women farmers and producers. Besides marketing their products, it runs a micro-credit programme. Umang works closely with Grassroots, Ranikhet.

The interns are also staying in her house during the period of the fieldwork placement.

UCDVO and ADBU plan – Int’l Student Volunteer Exchange Programme, 2018

Sonapur: The department of Social Work, ADBU and University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO) recently (5-10 March) held its planning meeting for International Student Volunteer Exchange Programme 2018 (June-July). The programme brings together students from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland thorough its volunteering agency UCDVO and the Social Work students of ADBU for a period of one month inter-cultural and development experience in the villages of rural Assam. The exchange programme involves a process of one year planning, implementation and reflection.

The Programme envisages the following objectives

  1. To channel the skills, energy and enthusiasm of university students into projects which enhance the development of marginalised and underprivileged communities.
  2. To create space and opportunity for university students from ADBU, India and University College Dublin (UCD) Ireland to share learning and experience in the areas of participatory community development and social outreach.
  3. To enhance intercultural awareness between students and communities for the purpose of increasing global solidarity and interconnectedness.
  4. To promote attitude of appreciation for other cultures, practices, and traditions.

The programme started in 2014.

Celebrating Int’l Women’s Day 2000 miles away in the Himalayas

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ADBU students

Guwahati/Ranikhet: Six senior students of Social Work, ADBU, Guwahati who are on internship with Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation (Grassroots), Uttrakhand celebrated the International Women’s Day 2018 (March 8) in a little hill top Peace Park in the village of Talli Marai in the Alomra regions of Uttrakhand India with theme – “Press For Progress”  sub theme – “WOMEN, The Real Architect Of The Society, Educate Them To Educate The Future Generation.”  The celebration focused on the acts of courage of Kumaoni women in the history of their community. The event was participate by 270 students and women of the locality.

The event was marked by colorful dances and melodious songs that echoed through the hills and valleys of the Kumaoni hills. The celebration also had educative value as there were sessions on menstrual hygiene, reproductive health, environment, sanitation and waste management and a street play on issues of female infanticide.

The ADBU students performed a fusion Khasi, Jaintia, Garo, Assamese and Kumaoni dance.

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Celebrating Int’l Women’s Day 2018, Kumaon, Uttrakhand

Dept of Social Work wish Women Students and Colleagues on International Women’s Day

From – Department of Social Work, ADBU: The department of Social Work, ADBU wish all its women (students, staff and faculty) of the department and the university on this occasion of International Women’s Day – 2018, and resolve to uphold our commitment for gender equality, rights and justice. While, we acknowledge that there is injustice in the world, we resolve to affirm our belief that a world where men and women are treated equally – work, politics, education, society … is possible. Let society transform.

Theme of 2018: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

Junior Social Work Students present a Puppet Show

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The Puppetry Stage

Sonapur: The junior students of Social Work, ADBU presented a puppet show to the university community here today 7th March 2018 on the theme of Social Commitment projects of Assam Don Bosco University, India. The show was a part of the Development Support Communication workshop that they have been undergoing for the past three days. It is an academic skill expected of every Social Work student of ADBU.

 

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