The program is called Break the Bloody taboo, and a questionnaire is handed out in each session so that the team can gauge how much the girls and their mothers know.
Kavita Verma, whose daughter Himanshi studies in class X, has just learned the anatomical process of menstruation. She had told Himanshi what to expect when she got her periods, but she was not able to stop herself from passing on the superstition, stigma and fear surrounding the natural bodily process.
Instead of educating young girls about the menstruation process, a non-profit organisation called Sacchi Saheli is educating mothers and daughters together through 70 government schools in Delhi and at slums in Kondli, Laxmi Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Patparganj, Trilopkpuri, Madanpur Khadar, Wazirpur and Shakur Basti.
The programme is called Break the Bloody taboo, and a questionnaire is handed out in each session so that the team can gauge how much the girls and their mothers know. They are asked basic questions such as ‘How did they find out about periods’ and whether they were informed about it before hand.
“I was told not to enter into the kitchen, temple or touch pickle at that time of the month,” says 15-year-old Priyanka, a resident of east Delhi. “But at the session, I got to know that there is no scientific reasoning behind these restrictions.”
The team’s aim is to offer scientific reasons for basic questions such as whether its advisable to take painkillers for cramps, and also dispelling myths around why one has been told not to touch pickle or wash their hair during periods.
According to Dr. Surbhi Singh, a gynecologist, who has been conducting the sessions for a year with the organization said it was important to rope in mothers because they are the primary source of information for girls.
“When we first conducted the sessions, many girls requested us to talk to their mothers because they were not listening and abiding by the facts we had told the girls. So we called in the mothers to break the age-old traditions,” Singh said. The girls are also taught how to use and dispose sanitary napkins.
“The sessions have helped bridge the gap between me and my daughter on certain issues,” says Verma. “I had told my daughter everything about periods, but there were few myths we’ve inherited. This session has helped break these.”
“After this program, I will not impose any orthodox thoughts on my daughter. She is allowed to go anywhere and do anything. This would help her build self-confidence and match steps with boys in every field.