How is Ujaas helping in shattering stigma related to menstrual health? How can someone volunteer for this initiative?

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Anshruta Poddar

Ujaas, a social initiative under the Aditya Birla Education Trust (ABET), is a movement geared towards the betterment of menstrual hygiene awareness and management for the section of society that lacks the knowledge or the resources for the same. It focusses on shattering myths associated with menstruation as well as educating menstruators on how to tackle the taboo surrounding menstruation. An endeavour to uplift menstruators who may otherwise be ostracized for 5-6 days each month, Ujaas aims to bring about a change in the very fabric of the nation by quashing stigmas and discrimination resulting from menstruation.

Its motto- Change the Psychle (read as cycle) is derived from the words Psyche and Cycle. Ujaas encourages changing the very psyche or mindset of the masses and thereby changing the regressive cycle of discrimination and self-loathe that most menstruators are trapped in.

At Ujaas, the team headed by Ms Advaitesha Birla, will combat this matter through an amalgamation of

  • Awareness: education aimed at tackling both the physical and mental challenges associated with menstruation.
  • Distribution: creation of robust distribution networks to tap the interiors of the nation.
  • Sustainability: provision of affordable sanitary products to allow sustained usage by menstruators.

Awareness campaigns, the first step towards eradicating discrimination, will focus on a well-rounded and holistic approach to educating menstruators as well as their families. Matters will be dealt with from the very root of the problem- ‘the mindset’. Menstruators have typically accepted the atrocities inflicted upon them by society at large. They have been made to believe that during menstruation they are impure and unhygienic and hence they should stay at a distance and follow certain regressive practices. Teaching them that this phenomenon does not in any way reduce them as humans or make them any less pure, is the primary focus of team Ujaas.

Affordability and proper distribution of sanitary products is another integral aspect of the menstrual hygiene management. Ujaas will work towards solutions for both, with an aim to penetrate through the veins of the nation by making sanitary napkins available in the innermost and remotest parts.

The team at Ujaas is working relentlessly towards-

  • Educating women and adolescent girls in rural and tribal areas, especially in schools, to promote increased awareness and hygiene.
  • Distributing sanitary napkins that are affordable and accessible in remote areas of the nation that may not have otherwise had access to these resources.
  • Conducting seminars and workshops explaining the importance of menstrual hygiene management.

The team has already conducted several awareness sessions, distributed over 1.58 lakhs sanitary napkins, and touched over 7000 lives. At Ujaas, it is believed that stigmas and taboos should never come in the way of freedom, and no stone will be left unturned in furthering this mission. Volunteering at Ujaas will be welcomed with open arms. One can choose to volunteer either by making a donation or by simply helping spread the word online. One can also join workshops conducted by Ujaas and lend a hand in the distribution of sanitary napkins.

Visit the Ujaas website for more information, join the cause and play a role in creating a new, more mindful, and forward-thinking India.

Ujaas, one such initiative under the Aditya Birla Education Trust, aims to promote menstrual health and hygiene practices by following a more holistic approach. It encourages menstruators to combat the regressive practices they have been subjected to by training and educating them to fight against this oppression. It also works towards creating a better distribution network for sanitary products as well as increasing its user base by making it more affordable for the masses. It may be a long and arduous journey ahead, but for the team at Ujaas, it will be a fulfilling and rewarding one.