National

School-Shutdown Is Affecting The Distribution of Sanitary Pads

Priyasha Khandelwal
School-Shutdown Is Affecting The Distribution of Sanitary Pads

Under the central government's Kishori Shakti Yojna, adolescent girls received sanitary pads free of cost at government schools and Anganwadi centres. However, since the Coronavirus pandemic has hit the country, the distribution has stopped due to the nationwide lockdown. This has left several girls studying in government schools from class 6 to 12 in a helpless situation. 

12-year-old Shweta Kumari, a government school student from Haryana, is one of them, who expressed her grief saying, "The entire focus has been shifted to the distribution of masks and sanitiser and nobody is talking about these basics. It is important to save ourselves from the deadly virus but periods don't stop for pandemics." 

Majority of girls studying in the government schools come from low-income families, And, the disruption in the distribution is forcing a lot of women to go back to using cloth as buying sanitary pads don’t come in their essential list. "We are short of money because my husband used to run a small kiosk for street food, which is now out of business due to the lockdown. It is getting difficult to survive with other essentials, sanitary napkins, of course, do not figure in that list for us,” said Rani Devi, a domestic help in Uttar Pradesh's Bareily.

Devi had made a switch from cloth to sanitary pads about two years ago on the advice of a teacher from her daughter’s school. But with the onset of pandemic and disruption of sanitary pads distribution, she and her daughter are forced to go back in time to use a cloth. "My daughter would get it in school and both of us would use it. But now after the lockdown, things are different," Devi shared. 

The problem has been escalated from government teachers and state officials to the higher authorities. Union Minister Smriti Irani, during a video conference, addressed the problem of lack of access to sanitary pads in the remote areas of India and directed state authorities to ensure accessibility of sanitary pads at the grassroots level. She also tweeted, "Taking note of growing concern regarding the availability of sanitary napkins, Home Secretary to Government of India has issued a clarification to chief secretaries of all the states regarding sanitary pads being an essential commodity."  

Source: Rediff New

Image source: Pixabay

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