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Taboo to Teamwork: GPF India Address Women’s Health to Uplift Communities

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“I was not sure if this was worthy of attending at all… we have to manage a lot around the household; work to raise cattle, arranging the fodder, and helping in the fields. But now I feel taking out these few hours were precious for the village and my personal betterment.”
—Manju

Volunteers in India are uplifting girls and women in rural communities by addressing an integral area of health, safety, and dignity. Menstrual hygiene can be a taboo topic for many countries around the world, but it remains a huge contributing factor to healthy families, communities, and economies. Global Peace Foundation (GPF) India began the ongoing project Period Awareness Drive (PAD) in 2018 and has been empowering women with sustainable methods and access to feminine hygiene ever since.

Volunteers share information on women's hygiene and health in rural villages

Innovative project leaders worked with families to provide biodegradable cloth pads and menstrual cups to rural villages. "We believe that non-biodegradable sanitary pads pose a huge challenge in India, where disposal systems are largely missing in rural areas," said a GPF staff member, "A fully sustainable product and practice can show us the way forward."

The main objective of PAD is to create awareness and support for menstrual hygiene for women in rural areas and promote sustainable methods to do the same. Taboos, lack of information, and access to sanitary napkins are just some of the reasons why women's lives have been limited in many areas within society. GPF India believes that with the support of local families, those communities can make a difference and lead a series of initiatives to transform the reality of women who previously had to compromise their dignity and health.

The project focused on two things: awareness and access, starting in rural areas where it is exceptionally crucial. GPF India led a team of volunteers to a particular village in Uttar Pradesh that suffered from a lack of proper infrastructure and nearby pharmacies. In doing so, volunteers got to experience the challenges and opportunities at a grassroots level. Maaz, a volunteer, shared, "I am so happy to see that we all are doing some good for rural India and making the lives of people better."

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