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COVID-19: Students Turn Good Samaritans For Women In West Bengal, Helping Them Get Sanitary Pads Amid Lockdown

COVID-19: Students Turn Good Samaritans For Women In West Bengal, Helping Them Get Sanitary Pads Amid Lockdown
Students in West Bengal are distributing sanitary napkins to women 24/7 during ongoing lockdown
New Delhi: 

With an aim to help menstruating women during the current nationwide lockdown, students and young volunteers in all districts of West Bengal have started an initiative of home delivering sanitary napkins. The lockdown has been enforced by the central government to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus which has spread to almost all the countries in the world infecting more than 14.46 lakh people and causing more than 83,000 fatalities. According to Dipsita Dhar, PhD scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University and All India Joint Secretary of a Students' Federation of India (SFI), a students' union body affiliated to a left political party,

We started by providing foodgrains to people in need but we soon realised that sanitary napkin is a very important item that everybody is ignoring. Essentials do not just mean rice, pulses and medicines but sanitary pads as well and it would be difficult for women to get pads at this time of crisis. Given the stigma attached to menstruation in India, it does not seem that women would ask someone to get them pads. So we decided to bring pads to their doorstep. All they have to do is call in.

Dipsita further added that one helpline number has been started by student volunteers in each district and anyone who needs a pad at any time of the day can call in. The volunteers have stocked up sanitary pads and are giving it to the women for free.

When 47-year-old Pinki Mitra called up the volunteers in Kolkata for sanitary pads for her daughter, a volunteer made it available to her within half an hour. Ms. Mitra said

When we got to know that lockdown is going to imposed in four hours, I asked my husband to get some vegetables and milk for 3-4 days but I forgot mentioning sanitary napkins. I did not occur to me that I have a daughter and she will need some pads during this period of lockdown. Unfortunately, she got her periods on the Day 3 of the lockdown but thanks to these children, my daughter did not have to stay in an uncomfortable state for long. I called the number my daughter had received in a WhatsApp message and they brought a packet soon.

According to Ms. Dhar, the initiative has helped more than 4,000 women till Friday (April 3). While the students are providing pads for free to women in need, Ms. Dhar said that the district and state authorities must make sure that such a basic necessity is provided to women and girls of the state.

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