Mayaa SH Donates to promote menstrual health in tribal India to the United Nations On International Women’s Day as a part of Indian Donors, Talks on Menstruation , Taboo Around It , Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS), Awareness On Menstrual Health Amongst Youngsters, Balanced Diet During Menstruation and Self-Reliance Increases Our Self-Confidence….
How can taboo and silence around menstruation be taken care of?
While knowledge about menstruation and hygiene practices is high in the world, the culture of silence around women’s reproductive health issues continues to disempower girls and negatively affect their education and health. Adolescent girls need to be attended to with no judgement and shame and by providing better sanitation facilities and hygiene education in schools so that every girl is supported and empowered to learn and reach her full potential. With sanitary supplies easily accessible in school and classmates and teachers understanding on their need to visit the washroom, students can feel comfortable in attending classes during menstruation. Regular advocacy on breaking the stigma around menstruation by the school health coordinator for the support girl students receive is very important. Easy access to sanitary products, sanitation facilities and a supportive environment in schools to manage menstruation safely and maintain hygiene. To maintain hygiene and prevent rashes, it is very important to maintain hygiene in every four hours. Even if the blood flow is not very high, one sanitary pad should not be used for more than eight hours in any case.
What is your understanding of taboo around menstruation?
The term menstruation originated from the Latin word mensis, which means month, and the Greek word mene, which refers to the moon. In ancient times, the menstrual cycle was thought to be related to the moon’s cycle because both cycles last around 29 days.
In some cultures, women bury their clothes during menstruation to prevent them from being used by evil spirits. In some religions, menstrual blood is considered dangerous, and a malevolent person may use black magic to harm a menstruating woman or girl. It is also believed that a woman can use menstrual blood to impose her will on a man. Interestingly, in Asia, including India, such beliefs are still prevalent. In some parts of India, some strict dietary restrictions are also followed by menstruating girls/women such as not touching sour food like curd, tamarind, and pickle. Because it is such foods in which there is a fear of spreading the infection quickly. Few do not touch anything and are not allowed to enter the kitchen etc. However, there doesn’t seem to be any logical or scientific explanation for this.
Why is menstruation in your opinion not to be relegated as a taboo subject for centuries in ‘modern India’?
Menstruation is to be celebrated as one of the most significant aspects of life as it marks the transition from girlhood to womanhood. Menstruation is a regular part of a woman’s life. It is a way to help a girl feel confident in their changing body and proud of what their body can do and paves way to pregnancy as well, which is a natural process. It is synonymous to regeneration and fertility and recognition of women as Mother Earth and a celebration of procreation. The worship of Mother Earth symbolised through Durga/Shakambari, Shri Devi, Kamakhya Devi, Bhudevi and Parvati is, of
course, connected with bountiful crops in the next agricultural cycle in India where at one extreme end menstruation is considered a taboo as a cycle of regeneration.
Can you highlight the key points of the Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) introduced by The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare?
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has introduced a scheme for promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 year in rural areas.
The major objectives of the scheme are:
- To increase awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene
- To increase access to and use of high-quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas.
- To ensure safe disposal of Sanitary Napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.
The scheme was initially implemented in 2011 in 107 selected districts in 17 States wherein a pack of six sanitary napkins called “Freedays” was provided to rural adolescent girls for Rs. 6. From 2014 onwards, funds are now being provided to States/UTs under National Health Mission for decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision to rural adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs 6 for a pack of 6 napkins decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision to rural adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs 6 for a pack of 6 napkins.
Why is it important to spread awareness on Menstrual Health amongst youngsters?
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD, MH Day in short) is an annual awareness day on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) at a global level. It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2013 and observed for the first time in 2014. 28 is also the number of days for an average menstrual cycle. 5 is the fifth month of the year, May and 5 is the average number of bleeding days each month. 1.8 billion – the estimated number of menstruating women, girls and gender non-binary people in the world.2.3 billion – the number of people in the world who lack access to basic sanitation.
Discussing menstruation is still considered taboo in Indian society. Even today, the cultural and social influences on our people are a big hindrance in imparting proper knowledge about menstruation to adolescent girls in the right way. Menstruation is associated with the onset of adolescence/puberty in girls and many times it brings with it many rules, restrictions, solitude and changed expectations from the girls by the society. The perverted outlook of girls restricts their self-expression, mobility, playfulness and independence and it leaves a far-reaching impact on the psyche of women. Menstrual health is important for any woman for her own well-being as well as for the well-being of her family and society. But in general, especially in developing countries, mindsets, customs and institutional prejudices prevent women from accessing the menstrual health care they need to thrive. Menstrual hygiene continues to be one of the most challenging development issues today. The situation is worse in rural India than in cities. Because of this, many women face a lot of problems during pregnancy. For this reason, diseases related to menstruation, anaemia and UTI i.e. urinary tract infection are very high in women. Many women often skip treatment and make their problems worse. Awareness on disposal of sanitary napkins is a must . pH level can also increase during menstruation, it is considered very important to keep drinking water from time to time to keep it under control. Drinking water can also reduce the risk of infection, as well as protect a person from dehydration. Wrapping the sanitary napkin properly in the paper and putting it in the dustbin and then not forgetting to clean the hands is a must. Throwing used sanitary napkins in the open can put anybody at risk of spreading germs and diseases. Always say a ‘No’ to flush napkins down the bathroom drain.
What is a balanced diet during menstruation?
Omega-3 fatty acids help the blood vessels present inside the ovaries are quite tiny which can cause poor circulation and damage. Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds, both rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, can help balance hormones in the body. Whole grains are a rich source of proteins, fiber and Vitamin B. Women who suffer heavy bleeding during menstruation should definitely consume whole grains like Oats, Barley, Brown rice, Quinoa, and Corns etc. Fish is a major source of Omega-3 and thus helps hormonal balancing. It helps in minimizing menstrual cramps and reduces inflammation. It is also recommended to replace saturated fats such as red meat, cheese, and dark meat poultry with oily fish. Apart from this , coffee must be avoided as a stimulant like coffee can put you in an overdrive and also cause erratic mood swings. Even aerated drinks contain caffeine. Oats are a whole grain rich in calcium and vitamins A and B, and they’re also a great source of iron. Limes are packed with fiber and vitamin C and can provide relief from mood swings and bloating. Meanwhile, their high water content also keeps a person hydrated. Chamomile tea can help relax nerves and uterus. It reduces the severity of cramps, squashes stress and anxiety, and even promotes better sleep. To some degree, reabsorption of estrogen can be blocked with fiber. Fiber can be found in whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, and bok choy) are not only good sources of fiber, but they also are packed with antioxidants and reduce inflammation. Vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are good sources of fiber too. Canned foods, heavily processed meat, and other items made with chemicals and preservatives can make bloating and water retention worse. High levels of sodium are unhealthy at any time of the month, but they do even more damage during your period.
What is the one quality that all girls should bear in mind in order to stay strong?
God has created us thinking that we become self-reliant, we do not have to depend on anyone. Let us first become self-sufficient in our thoughts and cultivate the concept of self-belief for our ourselves in life. Self-reliance increases our self-confidence manifold. The courage to stand in front of the world increases, the mind does not panic on seeing any problem, but with the help of deep faith, we are able to face every problem firmly. One can take the decisions of life by oneself – It is true, life is not less than a war. There may or may not be happiness and facilities in the life of a self-reliant person, but there is definitely peace in a person’s mind. A strong willed girl knows that whatever is there in her life is the result of her hard work, she does not hold anyone responsible for her life. Self-reliant feels happiness even in the miseries of her life. She always acts wisely. Whatever work we do should be done with confidence. Any task done with confidence is successful. Confidence is the key to success. Self-reliance: It is very important to have both self-confidence and self-reliance in each one. The one who has more self-confidence, has more self-reliance. Along with courage in human life, there should also be bravery. Bravery and courage both live together. Bravery can be seen in the one who has courage. Every girl will become a super woman only by bravery and her belief in herself on the beauty of her dreams irrespectiev of whether others do share that belief system.
-© 2023 .Mayaa SH. All Rights Reserved.
About MAYAA SH
Mayaa SH also known as Mayaa Tai, Mayaa Di, Mayaa Audio SH, Pushpa ‘The Fire’, Padma Of The East, Lady Robin Hood, MS Dhoni Of Writing and Lady Gandhi is a known name in Contemporary Literature. She is a Multi-National Award Winner, a six times World Record Holder, An Artist, a Podcaster, a Record Chart Topping International Fastest Anthology Co-Authoress and has been chosen as number 1 The Modern Literary Stars Of India, 2022 by Cherry Book Awards for making valuable contribution to Contemporary Indian Literature. She has won numerous awards at the national level for women empowerment. She has Won In Memorable Performance in the category termed as ‘Other than English write ups “ for her appreciation of hard work, creativity and dedication in Grand Christmas Competition 2.0 which has been a world record event of the largest creative event hosted online with more than 1000+ participants. Mayaa SH is a Women Empowerment Culturist and a gender equality exponent to position and contextualize her work within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She has depicted gender inclusivity and equality through her certifications from the United Nations and powerful writings on Feminism, Gender Equality, Transforming Vision Into Action: Transmogrification on Transgender Community and Mental Health Awareness Topics. Her work depicts the identity, economic and social freedom of many. She has co-authored more than hundred and thirty plus anthologies with five solo books and has been aligned with more than 70 publication houses. She has been featured in several magazines and women oriented like Tejaswi -The Imperishable on Women Power and Honour including few international magazines. Her first poem “The Candle In The Wind” made her win an Award at the National Level. She navigates many women through stress by deploying talking as a medium to combat stress and fear.To get more updates, Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also join our Telegram Channel