– 12 year old Jamuna is from Parumpai Kandikai Village in India. Each month, she – along with 350 million other women[i] – feels ashamed, uncomfortable and unsafe.
This is because in India, menstruation is cloaked in secrecy, negativity and stigma. This taboo inflicts indignity upon millions of girls such as Jamuna, leaving them isolated and insecure. Furthermore, with even more serious consequences, the grave lack of toilet facilities can force menstruating girls out of school, temporarily and sometimes permanently. In fact, 23% of Indian girls leave school altogether when they begin to menstruate.[ii]
One way to address this problem is through the simple provision of toilets and sinks – such as the ones installed in Jamuna’s village by Just a Drop and local partner, the El Shaddai Ministries Trust.
Jamuna explains, “My mother is a coolie[iii] and works hard to make sure I can have an education. However, until recently, I faced a widespread but unacknowledged problem. Over a long time, and out of every single month, I had to miss school for four days because of menstruation. Missing classes meant I was unable to score good marks. My friends and I were fearful that stains on our clothes from our periods would cause our classmates to tease us, because there were no proper sanitation facilities at school. But now life is better for us. Since Just a Drop built a latrine and bathing block near my school, I feel more free and dignified.”
Read more about the project which supported Jamuna’s community by clicking here.
[i] WSSCC (2013); Celebrating Womanhood: How better menstrual hygiene management is the path to better health, dignity and business – Break the silence! report
[iii] ‘Coolie’ – an indentured labourer