In the heart of Barisha Vivekananda Girls High School, a transformation is underway — one that goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. It’s a journey toward breaking age-old taboos, fostering a culture of menstrual hygiene, and creating agency for girls. At the helm of this progressive movement is the Headmistress, Sanjukta Biswas, who, with unwavering determination, is steering the school towards a brighter future.
The catalyst for change was the growing concern within the Child Cabinet regarding the improper disposal of menstrual hygiene products. Despite tireless awareness campaigns, some students continued to neglect established guidelines, leaving used pads scattered in uncleaned toilets. Recognizing the need for a holistic approach, the Child Cabinet initiated discussions with the Headmistress, and together, they devised a plan that extended beyond student awareness.
Understanding that family involvement is pivotal, the Child Cabinet conducted a household survey in the areas where most of the school’s families live. The insights gained were eye-opening, revealing prevalent myths and misconceptions, especially among older generations. Some believed that girls must restrict normal activities while on their periods, like playing outside and going to school.
Confronting resistant attitudes during the survey was not uncommon. Undeterred, the Child Cabinet pressed on, recognizing that achieving cleanliness and hygiene goals required imparting the necessary knowledge to both students and their guardians.
A parallel investigation within the school revealed that even junior students held onto myths about menstruation. Some believed in superstitions like incinerating menstrual pads would bring misfortune — an alarming revelation that underscored the urgency of engaging with girls around menstrual health and hygiene topics.
The Child Cabinet organized a groundbreaking family meeting where they presented their charts, posters, and a comprehensive survey report. They presented their findings to not only students but also engaged in an interactive session with mothers. This session became a powerful forum for mothers to share their experiences, breaking the silence around menstruation.
“The team successfully identified the problem areas and also the role of mothers in informing girls about puberty. Sensitization of mothers and girls was the mission,” remarked the Headmistress. The meeting not only addressed misconceptions but also provided a platform for students to deliver scientific explanations, stress the importance of hygiene, and showcase digital presentations created with the guidance of their teachers.
In the end, the initiative proved successful in changing mindsets and motivating girls to maintain the highest level of hygiene during periods.
Barisha Vivekananda Girls High School is not just educating; it is fostering a culture of agency, breaking barriers, and ensuring that no girl is left out during menstruation. This transformative journey is a beacon of inspiration, illustrating how education can shape not just academic futures, but the very fabric of society.