HYDERABAD: In celebration of the UN International Day of the Girl on October 11, Happy Smiles Foundations, in partnership with Days for Girls International (DfGI), is inaugurating a social enterprise in Hyderabad to provide affordable, environmentally-friendly menstrual health solutions for women and girls.
The group is launching the enterprise this month. DfG Founder and CEO, Celeste Mergens visited Hyderabad recently and met with various organizations and government officials to discuss menstrual health management (MHM) and the needs of Indian schoolgirls and women when managing their menses. Days for Girls supplies empower women to make a choice that supports the Swachh Bharat initiative.
Days for Girls is a global movement breaking menstrual stigma while improving access to quality, reusable menstrual care products. The US-based nonprofit organization has a 10 year history of delivering menstrual supplies and health education to women and girls around the world; to date, they have reached over 1 million women and girls in over 120 countries with Days for Girls Kits, which include comfortable washable sanitary pads that are eco-friendly, and designed to manage menses without stigma or shame.
In India, more than 40% of women report lack of access to sanitary pads, and many social and cultural taboos leave women and girls feeling uncomfortable discussing their menses or purchasing sanitary products.
One in five girls drops out of school after starting menstruation. India has recently seen a surge in efforts to address this issue from local NGOs, community leaders, and government officials, especially as menstrual health management has become recognized as an important barrier to gender equality, women’s health, and girls’ education. DfG uses a multi-tiered approach to menstrual health challenges that involves a global network of over 50,000 volunteer Chapters and Teams. DfG has more than 80 Social Enterprises globally, like the one launching in Hyderabad, with a mission to increase access to menstrual care and
Happy Smiles Foundation and Days for Girls International say they are partnering to forge change around the issue of MHM and ‘act as a catalyst for local leaders to continue speaking out and creating solutions to this taboo subject.’ Celeste Mergens, Founder, Days for Girls International and team members Stephanie Stewart Schmid, Starry Laurie took part in the city event.