Bareilly school teacher sets up 'sanitary pad bank', shares knowledge on menstrual hygiene

"If women visiting the pad bank have health problems, I arrange video consultation with doctors for them. Male teachers of some schools have also joined my campaign," says Rakhi Gangwar.
A primary teacher has set up a 'pad bank' at a school, to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene, in Bareilly. (PTI)
A primary teacher has set up a 'pad bank' at a school, to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene, in Bareilly. (PTI)

A primary teacher in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh has taken up the initiative of spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene and set up a "pad bank" at her school for the adolescent girls and women of the village.

Rakhi Gangwar's efforts have started bearing fruit.

Her "pad bank, which began at the government primary school in Boria village of the district's Bhadpura block, is now attracting more women every passing day.

"The pad bank was started on the occasion of Mother's Day on May 15. During a survey of the village, I found women were unaware of the hygiene and cleanliness necessary during menstruation. They were using dirty clothes. None were using sanitary pads. Many were not even aware it (pads) exists," Gangwar told PTI.

So she took it upon herself to convince the women of the village to visit her school, where she educated them on the importance of health and hygiene with the tagline "Hamari Kishori, Hamari Shakti (Our teenage girls are our strength)".

"As my school is for students up to Class 5, I personally invited their mothers and other village women. I used my own money to buy sanitary pads and give them to the women. Now, as it has been about three months, the number of women coming for the pad bank has increased," Gangwar said.


"The school staff and the principal are cooperative and support me in this work," she said when asked about what kind of support her initiative gets.

"More and more people are joining the campaign. If women coming to me have some health problems, I also arrange video consultation with doctors for them," she said, stressing that male teachers of some schools have also joined her campaign.

"I used to send my videos to them (teachers) to show to village women and girls and the campaign is getting a good response. This month, a sanitary pad company has offered free cost pads to the bank," Gangwar said.

She said there are 78 families in the village and she personally contacts each of them.

"Some elderly women of the village also come to me and appreciate the initiative and encourage me. They even help in convincing other women to use the pad bank and spread the word," the teacher added.

Sushma Devi, whose daughter studies in the same school, said it is a great initiative and has helped them understand the importance of hygiene. "I am happy that we got a chance to know about the use of sanitary pads that we get free of cost here. I will also teach my daughter about this," she added.

Similar were the views of Usha Devi and Pinki Devi whose daughters too are in the school.

"We are fortunate that such a pad bank was started here. We are regular visitors now and we also attend workshops at the school. I have told other village women about this and we are glad that such a thing has started here," Usha Devi said.

Now, 100-150 women come to the pad bank every month and the number is increasing, Gangwar said.

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