Zuha's Menstrual Health Evangelism in Mysore

Reconfiguring faith: Zuha's Menstrual Health Evangelism in Mysore

Pinkishe Foundation


A Young Woman's Resolve Against Societal Norms

In the culturally rich city of Mysore, Bibi Zuha Anjum, a college student, grew up amidst the restrictive norms of a patriarchal society. These norms, particularly prevalent in Muslim households in her community, rendered topics like menstruation taboo, often leading to concealment and stigma. Zuha herself experienced the distressing narrative around menarche, where menstruation was treated as a secretive and almost shameful event instead of a natural, celebratory milestone.

The Desire to Make a Difference

Observing her friends and peers grappling with similar issues, particularly those attending Madrasas, Zuha felt a compelling need to act. Her moment of inspiration came while scrolling through Instagram, where she discovered the work of Pinkishe Foundation. Motivated by their mission, Zuha reached out to them, seeking support to educate young girls about menstrual health. She started her volunteering journey with Pinkishe.

Overcoming Barriers: The Madrasa Challenge

Zuha's initial efforts to introduce menstrual literacy in Madrasas were met with significant resistance. She faced rejection from several school heads, who viewed discussions on menstruation as contrary to their personal faith. Refusing to be deterred, Zuha's tenacity led her to collaborate with a local social worker, eventually gaining permission in her gift attempt from a school's principal to conduct a session.

Breaking the Ice: Zuha’s Session of Discovery

The session started with palpable discomfort among the girls, a reflection of the deep-rooted stigma surrounding menstruation. Zuha, understanding their hesitance, shared her own experiences and used engaging activities to build trust. This approach gradually eased the girls' unease, leading to open conversations about period pain and vaginal health. Zuha effectively dispelled myths, reassuring them that vaginal discharge is normal and menstruation signifies a healthy reproductive system.

Impactful Conversations: Shifting Perspectives

Zuha's session went beyond just imparting knowledge; it aimed to dismantle the stigma and encourage open dialogue about menstruation as a normal bodily function. By clarifying that menstruation is not related to religious faith, she challenged deep-seated misconceptions and empowered the girls with a crucial understanding of menstrual hygiene.

Ripple Effect: The Transformative Power of Knowledge

The outcome of Zuha's session was remarkable. A total of 42 girls experienced a profound shift in their attitudes towards menstruation. Their newfound openness led to vibrant discussions among themselves, fostering a supportive community. One girl's initiative to educate her mother highlighted the far-reaching impact of Zuha's efforts.

Conclusion: A Journey of Hope and Determination

Zuha’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and education in challenging and changing long-standing cultural taboos. The transformation seen in these young girls, their enthusiasm, and the ripple effect of their newfound knowledge fills Zuha with hope. Her commitment to continue this educational crusade reflects her dedication to empowering women and girls in her community, one conversation at a time.

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