Sangeeta and her daughter switched to sanitary pads, even though it was expensive for the family.
Sangeeta, 32 years of age, is a P.A.C.E. Champion as part of the Women + Water Alliance. She is from the community of Sindals, the bottom-most caste, discriminated against for generations. Her husband is bedridden with a handicap, and Sangeeta and her daughter work in the farms of other villagers for a living, each earning about INR 6,000 a year.
People in the village are uncomfortable talking about menstrual health and hygiene because of stigmas surrounding menstruation, Sangeeta says.
The use of sanitary pads during periods is a sensitive issue as it concerns women’s sexual health, but Sangeeta has shed any hesitation to speak about it. She says training provided by CARE India helped her realize there is nothing to feel shy about while speaking of this subject.
“Initially, it was difficult. We were also hesitant to go to the shop to ask for a packet of pads. But we have gotten used to it now,” she says.
There was also the question of money. The pads cost INR 30 for a packet, which was a lot of money for them. “Earlier, we used to think of the money it cost, but that is not the case any longer – especially since my daughter is happy,” she says. “It made a dent in the pocket. But that feeling has vanished in the past few months.”
For Sangeeta, INR 30 on a packet of pads every month is like the money it costs to feed the entire family a meal.
Sangeeta was the first person in the group to speak up, and on the third day of the WASH module, she told the trainer that she would use the pad, helping encourage others as well. She says that this change in behaviour was possible because the discussions during the training helped her to speak up.