SIVASAGAR/JOYSAGAR: Periodic absenteeism owing to menstrual cycle and drop out from schools after attaining puberty have always been a subject of concern at the individual as well as societal level in the hinterland of rural India. In order to address this issue, the district administration of Sivasagar has embarked on a mission in consonance with Swachh Bharat Mission objectives by rolling out the first of its kind menstrual hygiene management programme in the district, named ‘Sakhi: A ray of hope’.
The project was formally inaugurated by State Power Minister Tapan Gogoi in presence of Member of Parliament, Jorhat LS constituency, Kamakhya Prasad Tassa, Deputy Commissioner of Sivasagar Pallav Gopal Jha and other dignitaries at Yuvadol, Sivasagar.
As part of Phase I, 17 schools and one college - Sibsagar Girls’ College - will have sanitary vending machines and incinerators. The project will also see the formation of WASH groups in all these schools and college with a nodal teacher, who will be the torch bearers in percolating the good habits of safe and hygienic disposal practices, removal of social taboos and other related sanitation issues.
As chief guest of the programme, the minister said, “Times are changing and Sivasagar district administration’s step towards menstrual hygiene management is a testimony of that. I congratulate the district administration of Sivasagar in taking up this important initiative. The subject of menstruation has been discussed in our State Assembly and funds have been allocated in the budget. But we have to create awareness in the community and Sivasagar district can be a role model for other districts to follow.”
The Deputy Commissioner said that it would imbibe leadership skills in younger generations as well and they would be able to address the social taboo attached with menstruation right from the word go. “The project is based on a self-sustaining manner and will tackle the issue of drop out due to menstruation head on,” said Pallav Gopal Jha, the Deputy Commissioner of Sivasagar. The project has been conceptualized and implemented by the district administration of Sivasagar, supported by ONGCL as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activity. The official inauguration of the sanitary napkin vending machines took place in two places simultaneously - Sibsagar Girls’ College and Nazira Higher Secondary Girls’ School - while the formal lighting ceremony and other programmes were held at Yuvadol. Noted gynecologist Dr Arun Madhab Barua also interacted with the college students of Sivasagar Girls’ College and answered their queries on menstruation issues.