In focus Creators of an educative website for adolescents, Aditi, Tuhin and Rajat, talk about their ideas and the way ahead

When it comes to the topic of periods or puberty, there are a lot of myths and Aditi Gupta decided to do something about it. In October last year, Aditi Gupta with Tuhin Paul and Rajat Mittal, launched menstrupedia.com, a website aiming to provide reliable information on menstruation to adolescents.

Aditi’s personal experiences with menstruation drove her to take it up as her core research with Ford Foundation at National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.

The idea came about much before the actual launch of the website. “When I was younger, I was always on the lookout for trustworthy and reliable information about menstruation,” says Aditi. Tuhin wanted to help out because he saw this opportunity as ‘hugely satisfying and motivating’. “Through Menstrupedia, I got a chance to put my skills as a storyteller and visual communicator to create positive impact on girls and women,” says Tuhin.

Through her research during her days at NID, Aditi spoke to school girls, parents, and NGOs on this topic and found that the best time to educate a girl about menstruation was around the time she gets menarche (her first period). She however realised that most schools were introducing the topic much later and in a purely academic fashion.

Aditi teamed up with Tuhin, a like-minded artist and created a prototype — a printed comic in Hindi which broached the issues surrounding menstruation. The comic was tested among school girls, while the response was good, Aditi and Tuhin had to shelve the project due to lack of funds.

Aditi then went on to work as a user experience designer for an e-learning company and Tuhin found a career as an animator and visual communication designer. After two and a half years, in August last year, Aditi and Tuhin decided to revive their ‘baby’ and started working on Menstrupedia and they successfully founded the website in October last year. Rajat Mittal, a programmer with a masters degree in Computer Science from Arizona State University decided to hop on board and helped carve the project from a technological standpoint. “After initial testing, we realised that a website should target a larger set of users so that their reactions help build the right content which becomes relevant across cultures,” says Aditi.

The website features illustrated resourceful guides about menstruation, with frequently asked questions and a comic. The website uses the method of storytelling to correct the myths circling around the issue and provide remedies. The trio are also working at creating tools: both online and mobile applications that can help women track their periods in an effective fashion. Aditi, Tuhin and Rajat consider their website to only be a starting point to what they actually want to do — ‘create in-depth resources to tackle the issues’.

The team is launching a comic on the subject of menstruation in April, targeting the age-group of 9 to 11 years and introduce the concept of hygiene management through characters and situations, along with an audio-visual narrative. The team is hoping to collaborate with different schools and plan to distribute the comic in the US with a US-based company, Gladrags.

VISHNUPRIYA BHANDARAM

Through Menstrupedia, I got a chance to put my skills as a storyteller and visual communicator to create A positive impact on girls and women

Tuhin Paul

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