As we sent countless emails to NGOs around Delhi and Noida wondering if our workshops on menstrual health and hygiene would be helpful, we weren’t surprised when we received no response barring one email that said our services weren’t needed. Our spirits did rise when the SETU Foundation responded saying the workshop could be held in their school in Nithari (a village in Noida) called the SETU Shikshajyoti Education Kendra.
The SETU Foundation is an organization that works to make permanent changes to the lives of the underprivileged or the less fortunate. This is done in terms of hygiene, education for all, youth development, women empowerment as well as skill development and rehabilitation. SETU stands for “Skill and Empower the Un-Served”, and interestingly, means “bridge” in Hindi.
This was greeted with much enthusiasm from the team. When are we going to the school to meet the girls? How many girls are there? Who are we going to collaborate with? How much do the girls know? Before we jumped the gun, Ritika suggested we conduct a survey with the girls. We were informed that they could read and write English reasonably well but, knowing our team, we remained skeptical while constructing the survey.
We debated whether the survey was to be aimed at sparking thought about menstruation and the taboo around it or simply retrieving information to aid the talks we were going to give. It was decided that its primary aim was to get information. Some questions, like what they weren’t allowed to do on their period, could possibly make some girls consciously think about the restrictions imposed on them while on their period: but we weren’t expecting much. Ultimately, the survey was aimed at extracting information on the following things:
- at what age they found out what periods were
- who told them about periods
- what they use on their periods
- whether they attend school on their period
- what they aren’t allowed to do on their period
There were a million outcomes we could think of; the many ways the survey wouldn’t go as planned. We could only find out after we went to the school the next day.
Tara from The REDefine Team