PATNA: Buoyed by the success of sanitary pad banks set up in about 100 co-ed government middle schools in Bihar, the state government has decided to provide the facility to another 100 schools. The Patna chapter of UNICEF is providing technical support to run this initiative aimed at creating 'menstrual hygiene' among girls of rural backgrounds from their school level.
Following Kerala, the initiative was started in 103 middle schools in Bihar's three districts namely Sitamarhi, Gopalganj and Shaiekhpura in September 2018. Sharing details with TNIE, Nipurnh Gupta, communication specialist of Patna chapter of UNICEF, said: "The sanitary pad banks have been set up at 47 middle schools in Sitamarhi, followed 41 in Gopalganj and 15 in Sheikhpura so far in order to create awareness on menstrual hygiene among the girl students".
The volunteers of ' Meena-Manch', (a forum of school girls to promote the value and rights of a girl child) encourage the girls to avail the facility at their schools. They also inform the girls about the annual cash incentive provided by the state government. Under the Mukhyamantri Kanya Uthan Yojna, the state girls from class 7 to 12 can receive an annual cash incentive of Rs 300 for maintaining hygiene
Gupta said: "Since September 2018, around 37,922 girls in all the three districts have availed the benefits of this initiative at their schools”. She further added that another 100 middle schools in many aspirational districts will soon have the Sanitary Pad bank set up in addition to 103 middle schools having this facility.
The UNICEF has asked the Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) to provide such facility at all schools in the state.
The students can buy a pad for Rs 5 only at their schools and the teachers or volunteers of Meena manch ensure the availability of pads.