Dr Bharti Lavekar, MLA from Versova In Mumbai Started India’s First Digital Sanitary Pad Bank!
10 November 2017
We, women, face day to day challenges. For us, the monthly menstrual cycles are like dreadful sins. In rural India, women use leaves, old ragged dupattas, and dirty discarded napkins even.
Sanitary napkins are available in the market but it is considered a luxury commodity and so only 15% women in India use sanitary napkins. To bring in a change and have a healthy hygienic environment for women, on the 28th May 2017 which is celebrated as World Menstruation Hygiene Day, Dr Bharti Lavekar inaugurated the one of its kind Sanitary Pad Bank.
Dr Bharti Lavekar is an Indian politician and member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. She is a first-term member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. Along with being a politician, she is also a social activist and social worker.
Being a sitting MLA from Versova in Mumbai, she has raised the issue of unaffordability of sanitary pads by women. She established TEE Foundation, which is an NGO focusing on women’s rights and issues which women face such as female foeticide, sanitation and hygiene, girl education and gender discrimination.
In 2011 when the census data was declared, the sex ratio stood at 801:1000. Dr Bharti was shocked and wanted to know the reason that why the female ratio was so less. In the same accordance, she adopted 120 villages within the Shirur taluka. To end the female foeticide, she and her team came up with an idea of depositing an amount of Rs.5000 into the account of the girl child.
This scheme worked and Dr Bharti found other ways through which they could promote girl child. Over a period of time, the ratio went up to 921:1000.
In the year 2014, Dr Bharti won from her constituency and the issue of menstruation was in force. It was disturbing for her to know that women don’t take proper hygiene care for themselves during the menstrual cycle. She was shocked because 27% of women die due to cervical cancer which is caused due to severe infections during the flow of blood.
And so she decided to set up a sanitary pad bank. Donors can donate either money or sanitary pads. The foundation will make sure it reaches those in need. Dr Bharti aims at overcoming the taboo of menstruation.
The Sanitary Pad bank will provide sanitary napkins to both tribal and non-tribal women. A tribal woman can avail the services of the bank without any identification proof, whereas a tribal woman will have to show their orange ration card to register with the bank. She has installed a Sanitary Kit in various areas of her neighbourhood which provides sanitary pads, painkillers, underwear and other necessities.
Dr Bharti also aims at getting sanitary napkin vending and disposable machines in schools and public toilets. Disposing the sanitary napkin is necessary because if the napkin is not disposed correctly, it can create major troubles and spill major infections. She is working for the same and has joined hands in the initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Being a woman is not easy. And being a female politician is challenging. Convincing the male dominant assembly and making them agree on the facts which a woman can understand better is a task which Dr Bharti comes across often.
Dr.Bharti Lavekar is a Woman of Courage because she is bold and enthusiastic. She wants to give the women all the rights and also want them to take their proper health care. She has made her every effort to work for women and make a better life for them.
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