Many people are usually hesitant about taking a whole year's break in between their studies to pursue what they are really passionate about. But Amani Dabriwala took a huge step that won't just affect her life but the life of many other girls. A 12th standard dropout from the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, Amani has taken upon herself to raise the issue of menstrual awareness and hygiene in several government schools for the underprivileged in Mumbai.
"I started by distributing sanitary napkins and giving a talk accompanied by a power point presentation to all the girls from classes 5-10. Initially, a lot of young girls came up to me and shared their worries, questions and experiences," said Amani.
The most rampant problem that is currently plaguing our country even in the urbanest setting is the disposal of used menstrual pads. To tackle this problem, Amani installed commercial sanitary napkin destroyers in the schools and gave demonstrations on how to operate the machines. "I raised the sum required to purchase the machines through crowdfunding," explained Amani who plans to so abroad for higher studies.
The machine which is from GloLife Care Equipments Pvt Ltd (one of the best manufacturers) can destroy 100 sanitary napkins per day and up to 15 at a time, and converts them into eco-friendly smoke output in a field or open area near the schools. The 12th dropout also gave a talk to B.Ed students of one of the schools in Juhu on how to operate the machines and what it means to maintain good menstrual hygiene.
"People United for Better Living in Calcutta (PUBLIC), an NGO, with whom I worked earlier on similar issues when I was living in Calcutta, was happy to provide me with minor logistical support and gave me a formal acknowledgement of their support. All in all, it was a transformative experience. I am continuing this initiative in the future with as many schools as possible and hope to take the concept to villages as well," she said.