By Udisha Srivastav
To those facing a crisis during the period of lockdown, women have been the worst affected. They have been experiencing advancement in the pressure to do household work, the scarcity of sanitary products to take care of their menstrual health, and the health problems that arise as a result.
It is to be annotated, while schools, the main distribution channel for the government to distribute sanitary napkins are closed and the production houses have halted the production of sanitary napkins, it has become difficult for girls and women to access quality sanitary products. To combat the crisis to an extent, SheWings has distributed around 30,000 sanitary napkins amidst the lockdown.
The foundation has adopted several schools and villages across Northern India. Chetram Sharma inter-college in Chalera, Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Dilshad Garden, slums in Jaunpur and Laximinagar New Delhi and Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh to name a few. Since the last two months, the foundation is constantly receiving calls from our beneficiaries in these schools and villages.
At the time when the organization is facing the scarcity of products due to lack of labor and adequate transportation facilities, a lady from Jaunpur village contacted Shivendra Pandey, the Chief Planning Officer of the foundation for not getting the supply of sanitary products. Sunita, 33 said, “aap 2 mahine se humko saaman nahi diye to hum jo istmaal karte the wahi istmaal karne lage”. (Since you didn’t provide us the sanitary napkins for last two months, we started using the materials that we used earlier). When probed further, the lady mentioned that she has started using cloth again on her menstruating days.
Similarly, on a recent note, the foundation’s Communication Incharge, Udisha Srivastav was also reached out by a lady from a village near Bareilly, U.P. 28-year-old Gauri admitted that she and some friends of hers have resorted to rags, once again. She expressed that she can’t afford the sanitary napkins available in the market as there is no constant source of income for her family during these times.
“Due to the lockdown, the production almost stopped for 2 months. With no sufficient labor and transportation facilities in place, the supply chain is affected. In effect, the routine has also got slightly affected. Henceforth, we hope that all the things fall into place once again so that we can witness the smooth flow of the production and distribution of the sanitary napkins”, Madan Mohit Bhardwaj, founder of SheWings Healthcare.
Amidst the lockdown, not only the sanitary napkins, but the organization also decided to deliver food packets to the women migrating from one destination to another. On her way, when Harshita Bhardwaj, the Chief Marketing Officer of SheWings tried to handsel the sanitary products to women, most of them denied to accept the sanitary napkins citing the absence of any private spaces to use them.
Henceforth, reasons like affordability, scarcity of sanitary products, and the lack of private spaces to use them and the additional pressure to cater to the needs of the household are posing hurdles to the health and hygiene management in the lives of women.