Tribal Girl Geru's Menstrual Health Empowerment

Ashes to Eco-pads: Tribal Girl Geru's Menstrual Health Empowerment

Pinkishe Foundation


The Beginning: A Harsh Reality Unveiled

In the heart of India, nestled within the dense forests of Madhya Pradesh, lies Betul, a region where modernity has been slow to reach. 

Trupti's father used to work in the forest department of Betul. That gave her the opportunity to visit the tribal areas in the dense jungles often. The jungles and the people living there always pulled her. 

It was during one such visit that she encountered the harsh realities faced by the local tribal women. A conversation with Geeta, a dedicated Anganwadi worker, revealed a startling harsh reality: tribal women, including young adolescent girls like 14-year-old Geru (name changed), had to use ash from the house chulha and wrap it up inside an old rag to soak her blood during her periods! 

That was shocking for Trupti. Being a woman herself, she was aware of the silence, taboos, and restrictions related to menstruation, but something as primitive and alarming as using harmful ash near the body’s most susceptible region to infections was a shock for her. 

Trupti's Journey: From Shock to Action

Trupti's initial shock turned to a sense of responsibility and then a strong determination. Taking help from Geeta, she made some frequent trips to the community, and interacted with the women to understand the menstrual realities better.

Trupti reached out to the Pinkishe Foundation and discussed the situation and her wish to volunteer and support. She asked for guidance and support.  

A New Dawn: The Impact of Collaboration

Pinkishe, evaluated the situation and concluded along with Trupti that Reusable Cloth Sanitary Pads would be best for the community people. It will give them long lasting period products to take care of their needs for a long period of time while not hiring the environmental balance of the forest area.

Already involved in distributing eco-friendly cloth pads in partnership with Eco Femme’s Pad for Pad program in a few other geographies, Pinkishe presented a case for including Betul’s tribal community under the program to Eco Femme, who readily agreed to support. 

Trupti underwent hours of training, handholding and studying to get ready as a menstrual Educator - A Pinkishe ‘Sakhi’.

The collaboration blossomed, and soon, Trupti, with the support of Pinkishe, was distributing free cloth pads to the women and girls of Betul. Workshops and discussions about safe menstrual hygiene practices became a regular feature, slowly but surely eroding the age-old practices entrenched in the community.

Trupti's efforts, backed by Pinkishe's resources and expertise, are bringing about a slow behavioural change. Geru and many adolescent girls and women of her tribe who had once relied on primitive and unhygienic methods are now embracing cloth pads. 

Conclusion: A Continuing Legacy

Trupti’s journey in Betul, supported by the Pinkishe Foundation, is more than an isolated success story. It's a hope, to inspire similar movements across India, striving towards a future where menstrual health is not a privilege, but a fundamental right. This story, emblematic of Pinkishe's mission, continues to inspire and drive change, one person, one community at a time.

Geru still uses ash, but for other reasons than for absorbing her period blood. She also supports Trupti in reaching out to more women in her community in Betul.

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