In Active Bengaluru, special guests Dr. Dayaprasad Kulkarni and Autumn Eastman are in conversation with Pinky Chandran. They talk about the Curtain Raiser for the first international conference on Menstrual Health – The Period Junction.
Period Junction has been envisioned as a platform for various voices and stakeholders working in menstrual hygiene.
Autumn Eastman travels to different countries as part of various projects and is in India now to work with Arogya Seva on menstrual hygiene-related projects, and other projects, too.
Dr. Kulkarni is the Founder and Director of Arogya Seva, a transnational not-for-profit organisation that provides access to health and heathcare services through a network of volunteers at no cost. Arogya Seva is five years old and has been working in the fields of healthcare, disability, inclusion, LGBTQ, women’s health, and children’s health.
In his childhood, he was excluded from ‘boy’ games as he was shorter than the others and, thus, ended up with groups of girls. He played the games that they played and got to listen to ‘girl talk’. He was also a part of many ceremonies for girls where their entry into ‘womanhood’ was celebrated. He also saw resistance, inhibition, and people being skeptical but over the years, conversations have changed, the ecosystem has changed and many have come forward to talk and work about menstrual health. In 2014, Arogya Seva was formed and one of the flagship programs was the Doctor at School program. Under it, comprehensive school exams were conducted, which now happen every year and in many schools. One of the components involved was awareness around menstrual health and hygiene, raised through an animated video which not only talks about human anatomy and physiology but also explains about myths, misconceptions, traditions, choices, and also gives a trigger to engage in conversations outside of this core topic, like sexual health, reproductive health, abuse, and more.
In this journey, they have connected with many young persons from different organisations and the team has realised that the gap doesn’t exist between adolescent or young girls but in the socio economic realities. They also realised there is a lot of duplication of work, with many organisations doing similar work. “We as an organisation are providing care directly and also looking at bringing together and strengthening the ecosystem and also wanting to have an involvement in policy-making and advocacy. The one good away of making it happen is bringing all organisations and individuals in one place and talking about it and see as a group what and where can we go into this. That is where The Period Junction is coming up.”
Autumn Eastman had earlier opened an chapter within an organisation called Periods which assembled menstrual hygiene products which were later delivered to homeless women.
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