The results of the survey mentioned in our previous post gave us an idea of the girls’ rudimentary knowledge of periods. It formed the basic structure for planning our talk (click here to see the results).
The planning process had many challenges to offer. Despite our general fluency in everyday Hindi, we had to turn to Google Translate during fairly often. What were the Hindi translation for “ovaries” or “vagina?” and are they even used to begin with? Our didis took time out of their day to answer our vague questions about the female reproductive system. With approval from their and awkward choral repetition from our end, we reached a comfort level with our content.
Our next challenge was figuring out the structure. Initially, Meher, Tara and I decided to split the talk amongst ourselves by rotating the talks amongst the three of us — one sentence each. After practicing the talk in front of my father, we received suggestions that helped mold our talk. He proposed that we divide the talk into bigger sections and then allot them amongst ourselves. We then divided our talk into six main sections: an introduction with a brief overview of puberty, the biology behind periods, the importance of hygiene during periods, what should be used during periods, the various social stigmas surrounding and a revision session entertaining their (hopefully) many questions.
Picturing ourselves as the audience, we came to a consensus that visual aids and activities would make the talk more interactive and engaging. For the introduction, Tara decided to use a silhouette of a woman as we can point out the areas where females experience changes during puberty. This would help us convey our message in case they weren’t familiar with biological terms in Hindi. Tara was also responsible for hygiene and felt that applying a pad on an underwear in front of them would help give the girls and understanding of how it is done, as visuals do help. If they aren’t comfortable with seeing one being whipped out, shouldn’t they be?
Meher was responsible for the biology and question and answer session. From the experience at Parkshala, she realized that the need for a detailed diagram of the reproductive system isn’t required. Instead, she required a silhouette to point our where the system is. The presence of visuals, thus, seemed to be imperative again. To further enhance her talk and make it more engaging, she felt it would be fun to have a mini quiz at the end. This would help, both, making the talk interactive and ensuring the girls have a clear takeaway.
For combating social stigmas, I felt it would be best get the job done through an activity. The mishaps in communication across generations that give birth to social stigmas, she decided to relate them to a game of “Chinese Whisper”.
In fear of under preparation, we practiced the speech numerous times within ourselves and in front of our parents. Positive feedback from our folks was the green light for visiting the school to finally execute the talk.
Stick with us to know how it went!
Ritika from the REDefine Team