In two districts of Jharkhand, learning about menstruation is made fun with snakes and ladders, bead exercise, movies and much more.
In India, the taboo behind menstruation has been a constant, and WaterAid India along with its partners is trying to change this.
In Dumka and Pakur districts of Jharkhand, an awareness generation fair was organised in August 2017 which saw active participation of around 600 men and women. It also had members from four panchayats, the child development project officer, block education officers, district officials of the education department, panchayat samiti members, officials of district water and sanitation mission, and most importantly frontline workers and adolescent girls from four panchayats of Dumka and Pakur.
*Handmade bracelets with 28 beads are made, as a representation of the menstrual cycle. While yellow beads can be used to represent normal days, red beads represent days when they are menstruating. These bracelets are usually worn as a symbol of solidarity or sisterhood with women and girls around the world.
An interesting observation that emerged during the session was the use of terms like ‘भयानक मेहमान’, meaning ‘a dreadful guest’ while discussing the beginning of the menstrual cycle.
As the event ended, the girls shared how informative the entire day was for them. They were glad that their doubts and inhibitions regarding menstruation were clarified with some interesting activities. An anganwadi worker of Shivrampur Panchayat of Pakur district remarked, “This was the first time I learnt so many things about menstruation on such an open platform… It was very informative and will help me counsel other girls in my community on the Village Health Nutrition Day.