ONE INDIA by Facebook

Watch | How Has Goonj Changed The Lives Of Innumerable Women?

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Published:

‘Facebook presents One India’ is a series which showcases stories of ordinary people coming together to impact the lives of many for the better. The Season 2 of One India revolves around the spirit of change and revolutionizing things using technology. This season is all about the stories that will reach and empower the communities.

This episode of One India talks about Goonj, an organization that has been fighting a social stigma for almost 20 years.

Anshu and Minakshi Gupta began the journey of Goonj, two decades ago, in the capital city of Delhi, to defy the taboo related to menstruation and work towards creating more awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. Goonj had come up with a “Dignity Kit” during the 2004 tsunami that struck Tamil Nadu. Along with clothes, the kit had old clothes that were sterilized and recycled into sanitary napkins. The “Not Just A Piece Of Cloth” campaign still engages a large group of women who work every year to recycle old pieces of clothes into reusable sanitary napkins. Social media helped Goonj reach out to an unimaginable number of people for contributions, especially clothes. The campaigns like “Not Just A Piece Of Cloth” and others have become a series of trending hashtags and have helped raise more and more material. Facebook and Instagram did not only spread awareness about the issue, they also helped in getting donations in terms of money and cloth. Goonj not only helped in creating awareness about menstrual health and hygiene but also inspired numerous women to come up and contribute in terms of processing the pads and making them.

On this episode, our panel of experts discuss about the need of the hour - awareness regarding menstruation, menstrual health and hygiene. The panel comprises of Swati Bedekar (Founder- Member, Vatsalya Foundations), Ritika Chaplot (Member, Project Titli, Enactus, Student, IIT Delhi), Setu Niket (Independent Lawyer), Gautam Kumar Singh (State Program Officer, Adolescent Health, Department of Family Health and Welfare, Government of Delhi).

"One of the biggest health rackets is the removal of uterus, and as people say and as what we have noticed, one of the biggest and the most unfortunate reason is the lack of this small piece of cloth or a sanitary pad. Because we were working on cloths, we realized, clothing is a major issue. Two women sharing one saree is the most common story even today. Undergarments is a distant dream for many. And in any case, as I said, for this particular purpose, you need a cotton or semi cotton cloth and a larger population is using a synthetic cloth. These were the major gaps." - Anshu Gupta, Founder, Goonj 

The panel discussed about the lack of proper sanitation and stigma, when it comes to the usage and disposal of sanitary napkins in rural India. The lack of awareness regarding menstruation is the cause of thousands of girls, dropping out of school at the menarche. However, it is through the initiatives of NGOs like Goonj people are made aware of dealing with the change better. It is necessary to educate the public through regular curriculum or social media, about menstrual health along with providing sanitary napkins. This ensures that not only the women receive the necessary products but also know the significance of it. There are groups that try to engage more people through interactive sessions and songs. 

The panel also talked about biodegradable sanitary napkins which are becoming a trend as it benefits both the women and environment. It is also important to create a space where sanitary napkins are accessible and affordable. However, through social media, a lot of people are today aware of the issue and desire to contribute. There is a positive sign when it comes to youth as they try to understand and contribute to the cause. 
Watch to know more about the journey of Goonj, an award winning NGO that changed the lives of innumerable women.