Members of a motorcycle club, India Bull Riders group, from Bengaluru, carried out a unique initiative to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene in a remote Himalayan village last week.
During a ride through the Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh, they distributed sanitary pads to villagers and female monks at Pangmo village for free.
The village situated in Spiti valley is a high altitude desert that has a landscape similar to Ladakh. This is one of the most remote places in the country.
Speaking about the initiative, Renniesh Philip, one of the four riders who took part in the trip, said it is routine for the group to carry out some community service during their rides.
The group purchased around 100 packs of sanitary napkins at Kaza, Spiti's biggest city. Recalling the experience, Philip said, not many pads were available at the medical store they visited, in Kaza.
"The shopkeeper was initially surprised to see four men asking for so many pads, but when we told him why we wanted them, he was extremely happy and said, 'Take them all.' He even sent a couple of helpers to get additional pads from other places," Philip said.
At Pangmo, a person from the locality first communicated to female residents and inmates of a monastery for females about menstrual hygiene and the riders' purpose. According to Philip, the villagers' reaction was positive.
When they were brainstorming during the trip, Koppira Darshan Ayanna, one of the riders, had come up with the idea. "I knew Pangmo was a very remote village and sanitary pads were probably not easily accessible," he said. He had gone on a ride to spread awareness on hygienic menstrual practices in Bengaluru last year.
In addition, the group also planted a few saplings at the village - something they had done on their earlier rides too. The other two riders were Mahesh Kemkar and Sudhir Nanjappa.