Our Vision through Spot On & Off is to encourage women across all ages to embrace menstruation and menopause as a normal part of their lives. We want to spread awareness about menstruation and menopause and counter this social taboo with knowledge and education.
Spot On & Off Program directly supports the UN Sustainable GOALS 3 and 4 of good health and well-being, and quality education. In India, millions of girls drop out of school due to lack of access to sanitary pads and many lose their life as a result of poor menstrual hygiene. By educating young girls about the importance of good hygiene, we are contributing in an area where the need is the greatest. Furthermore, by creating awareness among older women about menopause, we are encouraging them to take charge and focus on their own health.
Our program also contributes significantly to the UN Sustainable GOAL 11, which is aimed at creating sustainable cities and communities. By creating awareness about reusable sanitary pads, the program is contributing towards reducing the waste generated by the use of non-biodegradable pads.
Through Spot On & Off, we want to break social taboo around Menstruation and Menopause. It is not something women should be ashamed of, rather something that they should be comfortable with. After all, it is a natural phenomena!
We believe that education, creating awareness and providing suitable interventions are the three main pillars on which a successful program related to women’s health can be based. Till now there is an unspoken taboo on talking about these topics and we want to help change that.
There are still many girls and women in India who do not know what happens to their bodies, and leads to many misconceptions, shame, under-confidence and even fear. We hope awareness and knowledge will empower them. We aspire to counter misconceptions, and social taboo with knowledge and confidence.
Ahaana Bharat Ram is a 14-year-old from The Shri Ram School, Moulsari studying in Grade 9. She loves singing western pop music and has been learning music for the past 3 years. She has also been learning Kathak for 7 years. In December of 2018, Ahaana cut off 14 inches of her hair and donated it to cancer patients as she felt that her hair was always going to grow back and theirs possibly wouldn’t.
Having experienced the embarrassment of having to sneak around to change her pad during her menstruation at school, Ahaana realised that the situation is probably a lot worse in ‘less educated’ India. On researching about the status of the same in rural India, Ahaana felt the need to help young girls in making them feel more comfortable about the topic. At the same time, Ahaana also found that older women were unaware of menopause and didn’t know that this was a natural process related to their bodies. This motivated Ahaana to look at taking this on as an awareness project.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ahaana ran a campaign to raise funds for the Blind Relief Association (B.R.A), Delhi. She has been instrumental in raising 5.5 lac rupees for the B.R.A
Anshi Aggarwal is a 14-year-old in grade 9. She currently studies in The Shri Ram School, Aravali in Gurgaon. She loves swimming, which she started as a 4-year old. She has been training for competitive swimming for the last 5 years and is now a national level long distance swimmer. She loves Maths and Science and has participated in many national and international Maths and Science programs and competitions. She dabbles in playing the guitar and piano.
Anshi is passionate about making a difference in the lives of girls and women by breaking gender stereotypes. As a Girl Scout for 5 years, she led a campaign to break gender stereotypes and increase confidence in middle school girls; she also collected funds to provide equipment to an orphanage for special needs girls. With Spot On & Off, she wants to increase confidence of middle school girls, especially from underprivileged backgrounds who feel ashamed of this social taboo, and fall behind and even drop out of schools, due to various issues related to menstruation.
1. Spreading awareness As a part of this project, we started with collecting detailed data and facts. We have conducted a survey covering 1000 girls and women from rural and semi-urban parts of the country to understand their level of awareness, barrier in their mind and their voices and concerns. We are analysing the survey responses and will plan a series of interventions to raise awareness – including campaigns, workshops, videos, grass-roots programs.
2. Sanitary Pad Distribution Drive According to a study conducted by A.C. Neilsen, it was found that only 12% Indian women use sanitary napkins and the rest are using unsanitary methods of managing menstruation. Based on this and other secondary research available, we will be conducting a sanitary pad distribution drive among girls and women of rural Mewat, Rajasthan to create awareness in the community, about their health and hygiene practices.
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