As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt life and work, the lack of availability of sanitary napkins has become a major cause of concern for many women in the country. With the rising pandemic, menstrual hygiene products, like sanitary napkins, have gone down the priority list of essential items; which in turn disrupted the supply chains and sanitary napkin supply became scarce across the country.
Many organisations and NGOs have been seen accelerating their efforts of reaching out to more and more women to ensure they have adequate menstrual hygiene products. Red is the new Green (RING), an award-winning Mumbai based organisation which has been working to reduce period poverty through advocacy and education, is crowdfunding for its pad donation drive #PassOnThePad to serve 10,000 girls and women in-need in Maharashtra. Through the initiative, RING is supplying and supporting NGO partners on the field who are working with urban slum communities, guest workers and underserved areas with sanitary napkins during the lockdown. In the past one month, RING has managed to distributed 239132 pads via 12 NGO partners in areas like Wadala, Dharavi, Mahim & Andheri.
Women and girls have been badly hit by the nationwide lockdown in the country. In May, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) stated that 31 million cases of gender-based violence are being predicted as a result of six months of lockdowns. Also, seven million additional unintended pregnancies are projected to arise due to lack of access to modern contraception in low and middle-income countries.
While the government is going the extra mile to procure daily essentials like food, oil etc, somehow, sanitary pads have not made it to the list in some areas, adding to the plight in the middle on an ongoing crisis. Women residing in urban slums are seen going back to using cloth pads or rags due to the sudden loss of income and restriction in movement. Moreover, due to the schools shutting down, girls who were depending upon sanitary napkins in schools via government schemes and school donations, now have no access to these products. The money raised through the #PassOnThePad is being used to fulfill the existing sanitary napkin demand received by RING via their NGO partners.
With the aim to raise Rs 10 lakh to serve 10,000 girls and women in need, the fundraiser had raised over Rs. 2.96 lakh at the time of writing this article. The fundraising initiative is active on ImpactGuru.