Sunday, 25 October 2015

..when those beautiful smiles appeared all over..!

At MANTRA, we understand that education and health cannot be seen in isolation. Health education is an integral part of education. And hence, we conduct regular awareness sessions for our school children on various preventive healthcare topics, like hygiene, sanitation, how to prevent malaria & dengue etc. This also helps us build great rapport with our students.

After one of such sessions, Shalini, a 12 year old girl from grade 7th at one of our partner Govt schools came to us and hesitantly, asked us some questions around menstruation. She had got her first 'period' a week back and her mind was full of confusing questions. Afraid to ask her mother at home, she had only discussed this with one of her elder cousin sisters, who herself did not have answers to all questions. We knew we had to address this.

So, we contacted Aunna at Pasand
They have a well-defined program for students to 'understand puberty and personal hygiene, examine gender norms and to be safe and happy on their journey through adolescence'. She readily agreed to conduct the 3-day workshop for our children at the school. 

Students loved the session. There were so many things they were being told for the first time. They felt relaxed after knowing that menstruation was a normal occurrence for any girl/woman and that they were not facing an unknown. The activities during the workshop was fun-filled. Gradually the girls started finding it less awkward and less uncomfortable to talk openly with the facilitator. Questions started pouring in. 

We repeatedly tell our students it is important to understand what is happening and why is it happening; More importantly, they should call out for help whenever they need it. Ignorance is definitely not bliss under such circumstances. Knowledge gives confidence and confidence is indispensable to one's life. As our girls shed their veils of embarrassment, they became more candid and gradually, the room was filled with those beautiful smiles all over again. 

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