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RASM (Right to Access Sustainable Menstruation) Ajmer, Rajasthan

Another important part of the school improvement program we are establishing in India concerns the issues surrounding the taboo subject of female menstruation and the impact it has on the lives of millions of school girls.

With some antiquated attitudes as well as lack of understanding the effects on education and home life are quite staggering.

  • 58% of women aged 15-24 in rural areas of India use hygienic menstrual protection methods.
  • 23% of girls in rural India drop out of school after they start menstruating due to a lack of proper menstrual hygiene management facilities and support.
  • 20% of girls in rural areas of India reported missing school during their periods.
  • 71% (approx) of adolescent girls in India have no knowledge about menstruation before their first period, as per a study conducted by WaterAid India.
  • 48% of women only in rural areas of India have access to improved sanitation facilities, including clean toilets.

Our friends at One Stage, who have helped us so much with the program, are being extremely proactive in trying to address a lot of these issues through both education to schoolgirls and communities to show the best practices in dealing with this subject and also ensuring that facilities in schools are in place to provide a clean environment for the girls and prevent absenteeism and illness.

They have started a program, RASM (Right to Access Sustainable Menstruation) which provides in class education, provision of incinerators and hand washing facilities, as well as printed material that can take the information into communities and enable families to gain a better understanding of the impact this has on everyone and to try and dispel some of the myths around the subject.

“RASM [Right to Access Sustainable Menstruation aims to increase the adoption of sustainable menstruation practices and products leading to enhance menstrual health, and empower menstruators to progress in all walks of their lives.”

So with the school we are currently supporting being predominantly girls it seemed to be the ideal opportunity to include this in our improvement plan and in addition to the toilets we not only ensured there were incinerators included but also that the RASM program played a part in the package. This will now form the basis of our School Improvement Program that we aim to deliver to more and more schools.

As we all know teacher/student relationships are crucial in the success of any form of education and it is never more important than when tackling such a sensitive subject. On our recent visit we were absolutely delighted to meet Parul, the master trainer, and witness one of her classes. It was so impressive to see how the girls were hanging on her every word and being actively involved in the class, clearly intent on finding out more information and ways that they could make their lives much more comfortable. Her personality really shone through and they had also engaged the services of an ex student at the school who offered a great connection between teacher and students who took everything in her stride and was clearly enjoying the experience too.

The relatively small cost of implementing this program is so worthwhile when the positive impact it makes to so many is taken into account and we are actively looking at a number of other schools in the area to assess the exact needs which will allow us to expand our efforts.

Our success in expanding this program is, of course, reliant on funding being available. We would love others to join us on our journey and if you would like to know more about how you can contribute and what projects we are currently looking at then please do get in touch.

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