Menstrual Hygiene Day, initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2014, is celebrated every year on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management at a global level.

This menstrual hygiene day, let’s acknowledge the constant effort by the Northeastern people in destigmatising menstruation and focusing on menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. Here are five ways that the northeast is raising awareness on the issue.

Normalising distributing sanitary pads:

It is worth noticing how sanitary pad distribution is becoming a norm than any other mainland state and marking as a progressive move in itself as it is being conducted in various housing colonies, hostels, schools, and Anganwadi centres. It is highly promoted by government officials of their respective cities and states.

“Break the Silence, celebrate the red droplets”

When we talk about menstrual health, it is important to mention Urmila Chaman, a Manipur-based Menstrual health activist who started her NGO Breaking the Silence Foundation and other international programs on menstrual hygiene, primarily focused on the marginalised communities of India. Her motive is not just limited to menstrual hygiene, but also the overall well-being of women across the nation.

Crowd Funded Campaigns

The project, taken up by three organizations— Serendip Guardians, Humans of Nagaland, and Our Young Voices— gradually moved towards adolescents from poor education and financial backgrounds, women vendors to other marginalised communities in the state. While the campaign continues, there is an urgent need to normalise conversations around the natural and biological process of menstruation.

“Bleed with dignity”

A mural made on World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019

Guwahati Municipal Corporation Commissioner Debeswar Malakar in the year 2019, inaugurated a mural created by Guwahati-based post-graduate student Bidisha Saikia who has started the #BleedwithDignity Campaign for making quality menstrual healthcare accessible. Also, Malakar gave special emphasis on the installation of sanitary napkin vending machines in government schools, public places like railway stations and bus stands, etc.

Corporate initiatives for affordable and sustainable products:

The state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL) launched a scheme called ‘OIL Shakti’, a community-based sanitary napkin production and marketing unit in the Tinsukia district of Assam under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on December 23.

Also read: Tripura govt to provide free sanitary napkins to school girls

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