Period of change

‘Celebrate Menstruation’ by Sustainable Menstruation Kerala

‘Celebrate Menstruation’ by Sustainable Menstruation Kerala   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sustainable Menstruation Kerala celebrates menstruation at a first-of-its-kind event on March 8

This Women’s Day, March 8, the women of Thiruvananthapuram are going to do something that’s long overdue. They are going to break barriers, bust taboos and get talking about menstruation. Sustainable Menstruation Kerala, a collective of organisations such as Thanal, Red Cycle, #HappytoBleed and Haiku that tackle pragmatic issues related to menstruation, organises ‘Celebrate Menstruation,’ a day-long festival devoted to all things menstruation at Manaveeyam Veedhi. It’s a first of it’s kind initiative in Kerala.

“The event is primarily to promote and create awareness about alternative practises and products for menstrual hygiene such as cloth pads and menstrual cups, anything other than non-biodegradable DSNs (disposable sanitary pads) that are harmful for humans and for the environment, thanks to high levels of harmful dioxins in the plastic,” says Shradha Shreejaya of Thanal, a resource person on menstrual hygiene management (MHM), and one of the coordinators of the event.

“I returned home to Thiruvananthapuram last year and started exploring the field of MHM and alternative menstrual hygiene practices in Kerala. I came across the work of resource persons like Arjun Unnikrishnan of The Red Cycle, a organisation that is involved in ‘challenging the taboos, social stigma, misconceptions associated with menstruation and educating women and men on the biological process, importance of MHM, alternative menstrual hygiene practices and related environment issues. There are also organisations such as Kanika, a Thrissur-based enterprise under Kudumbashree, which manufactures organic cotton sanitary pads, that are already leading the way in the field. Incidentally, Thrissur is the hub in Kerala for manufacture of menstrual products. We thought it was time to speak up and make a celebration about menstruation,” she adds.

On the day, Sustainable Menstruation Kerala has planned a range of activities to demystify menstruation, including interactive sessions with menstrual hygiene educators and activists, art installations and a skit and screening of the acclaimed documentary Womenses, directed by Unnikrishnan Avala. A panel discussion with activists such as Unnikrishnan and Nikita Azad of #HappytoBleed campaign has also been planned. There will also be a stall selling alternative menstrual hygiene products from We Cup (Thrissur), Namaskriti (Thrissur), Shomota Pads (Kolkata), Hygiene and You (Delhi) and Ecofem (Auroville).

The event is actually the launch of a year-long campaign that the collective has planned for the state. “The first step is a public awareness drive on the need for sustainable, alternative menstrual hygiene practices. In the next level, we hope for a policy change at government level in favour of these practises. As a final step we aim to make a change in the market. Right now, it’s near impossible to buy cloth pads, tampons and menstrual cups in supermarkets. We want to give women a basket of options, for we are sure that when women have options they will ethically manage their periods. Also, these practises are a give will a boost to local economies and empower women too,” explains Shradha.

The event is from 10 am to 8 pm.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 6:06:31 PM |

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