MARGAO: In a world where periods are still considered a taboo, a group of college students decided to take matters into their own hands and be the agents of change. The members of Smile Keepers, a student organisation founded by students of Padre Conceicao College of Engineering, Nuvem, have been spreading awareness about monthly periods and the stigmas attached to them in slum areas.
Despite many of the members now being employed as engineers, the group is still active and continues to organise various social awareness programmes. Recently, six members of the group, Fiza Shaikh, Yunus Shaikh, Ahida Shaikh, Rajesh Manjal, Karishma Manjal, and Khushnuma Khan, organised an awareness camp in the slums of Margao.
They educated the women about personal hygiene and care during their menstrual cycle and distributed sanitary pads along with instructions on how to use them and properly dispose of them. The women in these slums often lack access to proper menstrual products, and there is a significant stigma attached to the topic of periods.
Many girls and women are forced to miss school or work during their menstrual cycle due to a lack of access to proper hygiene products and the shame attached to discussing the topic openly.
The Smile Keepers are working to change this by breaking down these stigmas and providing women in slum areas with the necessary tools and education to manage their periods with dignity and confidence.
The group plans to expand their campaign to other slum areas in the state and distribute sanitary pads every month to these women.
It's heartening to see young people taking up such initiatives and working towards making a difference in their communities.