World Trade Center Bhubaneswar collaborated with South Eastern Region Pipelines Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) to observe Menstrual Hygiene Day here in the city. The day is observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28th May across the globe.
Mr. Prafulla Samal, Hon’ble Cabinet Minister, Department of Women & Child Development, Government of Odisha graced the event as Chief Guest. In his key note address he emphasized on empowering women through appropriate education. Appreciating the initiative taken in bringing this less spoken issue of menstrual hygiene to the forum, he shared Odisha government’s initiatives in women empowerment with a focus on adolescent girls. Shri Samal congratulated his government for making menstrual hygiene an important social priority through the introduction of Khushi scheme under which free sanitary napkins would be provided to 1.7 million girls in government schools from class VI to XII.
Dr. Amrita Patel, State Coordinator, Odisha State Resource Center for Women (SRCW), Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Odisha in her address highlighted both biological and social aspects of menstrual hygiene. She advocated the need to understand the biological process taking hygiene as a major point of concern and at the same time fight against the social perceptions of menstruation.
Dr Jaya Prakash Pani, a practicing Obstetrician & Gynecologist at Apollo Hospital Bhubaneswar stressed on the need for awareness on the healthcare and hygiene aspects of this normal health condition of women. He further explained the steps one should essentially take care of during the period of menstruation. He also deliberated on the health hazards one could face because of unhygienic practices.
Ms. Swati Tanmaya Mishra, a nationally certified gender trainer from Kalinga Kusum Foundation made a passionate plea to shed shame and guilt related to menstruation. She, through her personal experience of being a gender trainer, made an energetic presentation and trained women to be responsible, self-reliant and resilient. She urged participants to break the barrier in menstrual communication with parents, teachers and most importantly physicians.
Ms. Lopamudra Tripathy, Officer, UNICEF shared her experience as part of her organization’s work in creating menstrual hygiene awareness in Odisha for last 12 years. She shared how UNICEF has collaborated with Odisha Police in launching a Paree Express to create a statewide awareness campaign on preventing child sexual abuse.
Mr. Srinibas Patnaik, General Manager (HR), Indian Oil (Pipelines Division) in his address highlighted SERPL’s work in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how Women and Child Development (WCD) occupy a central position in the organization’s social commitment. He spoke on why corporates world need to take up CSR interventions in an impactful manner targeting specific issues of the society and why CSR is incomplete and ineffective without large scale participation of the stakeholders. He further debated on why safety and security of women is crucial for any social development at large.
Ms. Nimeshika Natarajan, Assistant Director, World Trade Center Bhubaneswar welcomed the guests, speakers and SHG members to the session. She further elaborated the importance and objective of observing the day.
Mr. S. K. Samal, Chief HR Manager, SERPL, Indian Oil Corporation Limited proposed the vote of thanks.
Volunteers of Ashayen group that works for street children shared their difficult yet insightful experience of working with adolescent girls. They shared how underprivileged girls in slums face difficulty when they attain puberty. With lack of awareness and lack of access to clean water for bathing and drinking they are highly vulnerable to infections.
More than 100 participants including 70 women members of various Self Help Groups (SHG) of the city attended the event and got insights into the importance of menstrual hygiene.
In Photo (L-R): On the dais Ms. Lopamudra Tripathy, Mr. Srinibas Patnaik,Mr. Prafulla Samal; Standing: Participants of the session