PeriodOfChange campaign started because of a chance conversation between 2 passionate people striving for better waste management practices in India. Being women, menstrual waste was a particularly important concern for both. 2 weeks later, we were on our way for the launch of a 5-week long #periodofchange. With no budget in hand, we were two women and a little bunch of remotely located part-time volunteers working 24x7 to put everything together.
Hard fact: While only 12% Indian women are using disposable sanitary napkins, we are still producing over 9000 tonnes of waste every month! This is almost what the capital city of Delhi generates every day. Whereas this appears as a massive problem to handle, it is further aggravated by the fact that all of this unsanitary waste goes disposed off along with rest of the waste, unsegregated and is handled by waste-pickers by hand (most of whom then suffer from respiratory problems, skin allergies and infectious diseases).
The conversation around menstrual hygiene, the need for better menstrual education and breaking the silence around related taboos started years ago. However, the waste generated because of menstrual hygiene products, it’s treatment and the utter lack of regulation around it has still NOT come to people’s consciousness. In addition, considering how tabooed this subject is, even waste organizations haven’t touched it at all.
We realize that this one complex issue touches upon many of India’s challenges: waste management, women’s health, gender-discrimination, right to education, and other basic human rights including caste oppression (of the waste-pickers).
Through, #PeriodofChange, we are calling for concerted action on integrated menstrual hygiene management so that women can choose safe, hygienic and sustainable products. We are doing this by online conversations - tweetchats & webinars - where experts interact and answer people’s questions as well as by inviting entries (for blogs & slogans) and local events such as workshops and presentations.
Our work doesn’t end there. We are taking this social change movement forward by petitioning the Ministry of Environment & Forests to draft Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2015 such that all absorbent hygiene product waste is categorized as a separate waste stream (which it currently isn’t) and is managed separately (so waste-pickers do not suffer) and is not incinerated (because that releases toxic air pollutants due to burning of chemicals found in the commercial disposable sanitary napkins).
Please help us continue the social change movement started with #periodofchange by getting more people involved, reaching to each corner of the country, conduct workshops among citizenry and produce educational materials. We have only taken first step and with your support, we might reach our goal!
Every penny counts for our team. All spending from the funding will be updated on the funding page, so you know that your money was well invested!