It’s about 3 sisters in a village near Amritsar, in the so-called prosperous state of Punjab. The sisters go through a major mental trauma and humiliation every month when apart from the piece of cloth for the sanitary pad they also need to share the only undergarment they have!! And if God forbid their cycles overlap – you don’t want to imagine their plight!!
A basic piece of cloth as a sanitary pad itself is a big issue. In a country where many don’t even have enough to cover themselves, it’s a question that from where will one bring this piece of cloth, every month.. If this cloth was available to women, why would millions be forced to use sand, ash, husk, news paper, dry grass and even polythene -as pad ??
A few years back when we started work in Punjab, breaking the myth of abundance and prosperity, no one believed that many people lack basic clothing in Punjab!! Then we found black coats and white shirts hanging in the old cloth shops in Jalandhar, being bought by lawyers!!
Many of you have heard the story of Habib, the dead body picker whose daughter used to sleep with the dead body to keep her warm and then there are a series of stories from Bihar, UP, Orissa where women remain in the hut or wouldn’t take a bath as they did not have anything to change!!
But let’s understand this is not a problem in the so called poor states only. You have a large number of homeless in your capital, just next to the capital in the richest state three sisters are sharing an under garment.. and with our wardrobes full of old material we still say- “we are looking for a needy!!
Please do not ask the name and address of these 3 sisters!! Let’s not turn them into celebrities!! This is just one of the realities which has come out…there are millions of untold stories all across…
The situation is bad, worldwide clothing has never been considered a subject. Winters are not registered as a disaster but many people die or suffer due to lack of clothing in winters…
For every person who dies because of cold and for every woman who goes through a bad phase without a piece of cloth, we find ourselves answerable…not because it’s our doing but because we are not doing enough.
Don’t you agree that for people who die because of cold, winters are a much bigger annual disaster than earthquake or floods? For millions of women, even menses is a monthly disaster if they are forced to roam around even without a piece of cloth to use as a pad.
Even if you look beyond the uniform of your society’s security guard or ask your maid what she uses during menses- their stories will tell you –that the needy is just next door…
Do join RAHAT Winters, our annual campaign and do the best you can. Organize camps, contribute woolens and other material, and spread the word…
The financial contributions are helpful in buying essentials and in reaching out to the farthest places
(All monetary contributions to GOONJ are tax exempted.)
Work on it. Open up your mind. Make some efforts…
Anshu Gupta (Ashoka Fellow)