We walked into the government school classroom to find a group of 5th and 6th-grade girls in their light blue uniforms and braids beaming with excitement that new people had come to break the monotony of their school day. Zealous smiles slowly faded to nervous glares and soft giggles when we announced we were menstrual fairies brought here to teach them about periods. A couple of girls got up and closed the classroom windows, a couple whispered to their friends, a couple sat humiliated, and a couple stared blankly. This same reaction is found in the classroom after classroom as we at Aarogya Seva teach young girls in Bangalore, India what it means to start your period and how to practice safe hygiene.
How is it that a bodily process as natural and empowering as breathing exists as a blackout? Ancient cultural dogmas and practices used in modern times perpetuate the stigmatization of menstruation in a vast majority of women in India. Large strides have been made in the field of menstrual awareness and education in India, with countless new menstrual products on the market and new menstrual health education workshops being developed. However, it becomes clear were all working within our own spheres. What if all of these initiatives had access to pre-existing knowledge and resources and didn't have to keep reinventing the wheel? We believe that if individuals in the field have the ability to share their expertise, wisdom, and experiences with one another, the substance of all of our work will increase in quality.
Therefore, Aarogya Seva is organizing the first international menstrual health conference in Bangalore, India on International Women's Day, March 7th and 8th, 2020: The Period Junction. Well, be uniting the movers and shakers in the menstrual movement to share experiences, research findings, opinions, and initiatives surrounding menstruation. Through this conference, it is our mission to create the groundwork for the movement to grow stronger as one.
Aarogya Seva, the global health volunteer alliance, was founded by Dr. Dayaprasad Kulkarni and is a not-for-profit, transnational, humanitarian organization aiming to provide Health for All by pioneering micro-volunteering and engaging stakeholders to contribute to making health and healthcare services affordable and accessible through a model of flexibility and shared responsibility. Many marginalized communities, due to lack of transportation, lack of government resources, armed conflict, and other obstacles are unable to access any healthcare throughout the course of their lives. Aarogya Seva is bringing healthcare to those who need it most and may otherwise have never had access to healthcare. We have reached over 100000 beneficiaries so far and hope to touch 1 million lives.
With the foundational pillars of volunteerism, neutrality, sustainability, and humanitarianism guiding the work we do, the activities of Aarogya Seva are carried out through these broad verticals and via volunteers of all skill sets and backgrounds
At Aarogya Seva, we have a Doctor@School program whereby we recruit volunteer medical professionals to screen and treat children in government schools for little to no cost. The Doctor@School program also includes the conducting of supplemental educational workshops, such as menstrual hygiene education. In the menstrual hygiene workshops, we use an animation-style video coupled with stimulating discussion to teach girls why and how menstruation occurs, how to practice healthy hygiene and methods for product usage. It is through this workshop that we hope to increase a positive attitude in girls towards menstruation, break menstrual stigmas and equip girls with the knowledge to feel empowered during their periods.
Find information about Maatrika, our larger menstrual health platform that will soon be the home to a menstrual education chatbot and menstrual health resources world-wide
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Map & Directions
Map & Directions
Veterinary College, Hebbal Opposite To CBI Office, Hebbal, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560024, India
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