In an attempt to bring the menstrual hygiene first priority MLA Dr. Bharati Lavekar founder of ‘Tee Foundation Sanitary pad bank’ has set up an exemplary example.
Dr. Bharati Lavekar a sitting MLA from Versova was moved by the plight of a woman who was unable to afford and get access to sanitary napkins.
She heard about the various menstruation practices and was shocked to hear that some woman said they use old ragged clothes, dried leaves, papers, the fur of hen, leaves of maize, putting sand in a cloth to absorb their natural flow.
This was not just an eye-opener for her – but was extremely disturbing. An average age for girls to get her first period is 12 which lasts at the age of 50. Throughout her life, a girl is in her periods for the duration of 2 thousand 220 days i.e.6 years and 1 month. In a year she spends her 60 days in periods. Stunned with this alarming statics she gave birth to India’s first digital sanitary pad bank on 28th May 2018.
The NGO that works for creating awareness to use sanitary napkins, menstrual health, sanitation, and hygiene, has now completed year. Tee Foundation sanitary pad bank provides free sanitary napkins to tribal women and non-tribal women, school students, Adivasi ashram schools. The Bank has around 1 lakh 7 thousand account holders and all are a woman.
By producing identity card which was issued by Tee Foundation sanitary pad bank a woman can collect 10 sanitary napkins every month. Dr. Lavekar has installed sanitary napkins vending machines which works on a mechanism of ATM machines at schools, colleges and police station.
While speaking about the idea of installing ATM machines she says, “In today’s fast life it’s hard to keep track on your periods and sometimes a girl or woman may not be prepared with her sanitary items ready. To ease her worries I have made the availability of sanitary vending machine as well as a disposable machine. We have affixed such machines at 10 schools, 2 police stations and 1 at local body office.”
All 10 Schools are well equipped with ‘Menstrual health kit’ which looks like first aid box. Said kit has been affixed in principles cabin so that everyone should have access to it when needed. This kit help students to ease first period cramps and other menstrual issues. If a girl gets her first period in school she can access the menstrual health kit which encompasses sanitary napkins, 2 nickers, painkillers, and instructions which explains how to give moral support to such girl.
The foundation also conducts awareness camps and woman can also ask their health queries to our Gynecologist if they face any health issues. To get the clear picture of girl health and for further treatment, we also distribute a form on which girls fill the details which help to give the clear picture of girl’s menstrual periods.
As a part of her initiative, TEE Foundation has recently adopted 52 Municipal Schools from the city of Mumbai. An Adivasi Ashram School in Junnar, Pune district for a monthly distribution of Sanitary Pads, Disposal Pouches and Vitamin Tablets to all the girls, in a bit to inculcate healthy sanitary habits from a young age.
She says “Girls from BMC schools comes from financially weak families and they cannot afford to purchase sanitary pads. Our ‘Tee foundation sanitary pad bank’ distributes free sanitary pads to financially weak woman and girls. Today we are spreading a message of menstrual hygiene and sanitation amongst 4.5 thousand students by distributing 10 sanitary pads and disposal pouch. Used sanitary pads can be disposed of in this pouches.” Every month this 4.5 thousand girl would be given 10 free sanitary pads.”
Quite rightly she is one of the chosen faces of the #Narishakti movement initiated by our Hon. PM Shri Narendra Modi ji. Dr. Bharati Lavekar has made it her life’s mission to fight for the rights of woman menstrual issues and her mission has leveraged to a height that now she receives emails from nations like Pakistan, Africa, Afganistan which demands to provide sanitary napkins.
Anyone can join this social movement, the person has to log on to the website http://teefoundation.in and can call on the numbers given on the website to donate pads.