Following the survey at the SETU Organization in Noida, we visited Mr. Amitav Virmani, founder CEO of ‘The Education Alliance’. It is an NGO based in India with the objective of enabling quality education through partnerships between the government and the NGO sector.
The meeting was, in short, enlightening. We responded promptly to questions about our mission, short-term goals, and the reason behind creating the campaign. However, it was an incredibly scattered response- that was the first thing that had to be changed. What is our goal in one crisp sentence? It’s to spread awareness about menstruation to underprivileged girls. Does this encompass everything we will do in the coming years? Probably not. For instance, we want to conduct more surveys, preferably with older women, to gather accounts on their experiences with menstruation. But that short sentence had to tell people what we do immediately.
We proceeded to tell him about the survey we took that morning with the SETU organization girls (click here to read about it). He listened with interest and helped us understand what may have been the problems in the survey and how we can improve it. He also introduced us to Sukhibhava, another NGO that spreads awareness about menstruation around India, so that we could learn about how to approach both girls and women about this highly tabooed topic.
We discussed expanding our talks to the government schools under the Education Alliance. Having spoken about where the stigmas surrounding menstruation arise from, Mr. Virmani explained the benefits of talking to the parents of his students. This is a highly sensitive topic with taboos stemming from a combination of religion and tradition. Telling parents, without offending them, which traditions are better done without, will be an incredibly hard task to be done by a few eleventh graders. Nonetheless, it is something that needs to be done or at least attempted.
The meeting was successful not only because we learned a lot more about the work we are doing and on how we can improve it, but also because we were introduced to different ideas and possibilities in terms of field-work.
Stay tuned for more coming-of-age NGO tales (which will tell you a lot about the deep-rooted problem we’re combatting) and projects from us!
Tara from the REDefine Team
Check out the NGO that is bringing students, teachers, and life to empty government schools: http://www.theeducationalliance.org
Take a look at Sukhibhava and learn about their Period Fellowship: http://sukhibhava.org.in