Chhattisgarh’s ‘Padwoman’ helps slum-woman fight menstrual taboo

RAIPUR: While Bollywood is agog over success of Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Padman’, a woman is silently spreading awareness among women about menstruation hygiene, besides manufacturing and distributing sanitary pads free of cost in slum areas of twin cities Bhilai-Durg and Raipur.
After suffering from menstruation infection for three years followed by three surgeries, the state’s ‘Padwoman’ got a new purpose in life when she saw a TV documentary on stigma related to menstruation among tribal girls. She instantly decided to do as as much as she could to create awareness about menstrual hygiene, especially among tribals. Till date, she has distributed more than 60,000 handmade pads to women.

Speaking to TOI, 45-year old Dimple Kour from Bhilai said that the film was an eye-opener for her and she she vowed thereafter to make women aware of the ill effects of using ash, leaves and dung during periods.
Dimple said, “I was under too much stress for three years as I suffered from profuse bleeding during periods. I realized this can happen to anyone. I had the money to buy safe sanitary napkins, but what about poor girls and women, I wondered?” . Dimple had to get her uterus removed in 2014 after suffering for three years. She said that stories of women suffering from diseases caused due to unhygienic menstrual conditions, sends shivers down her spine.
She said, “I decided to form Anubhuti Foundation in 2016 and asked all my acquaintances and relatives to give their old, unused clothes to me. I washed them properly and stitched them into pads. I know they were not of great quality, but at least they were better than those used by poor women. I eventually improved the quality of pads by adding cotton. On Sundays, I visited slum areas and distributed pads wrapped in newspapers free of cost”.
Dimple has now started procuring cotton from Haryana in large quantity and has hired seven women to help her make pads without using chemicals. “Demand for these handmade pads keep coming from tribal areas of Bastar and girls’ residential hostels. I try my best to cater to the demand”, she said.