Manushi Chhillar spreads menstrual hygiene awareness on ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ tour

By Jyotsna Basotia

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Written by Jyotsna Basotia | New Delhi |
Updated: February 6, 2018 10:42 pm

Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar feels that everyone should take a step towards spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene, and helping create more biodegradable sanitary napkins. (Source: Manushi Chhillar/Instagram)

After winning the Miss World crown as well as the hearts of millions of people across the globe, Manushi Chhillar has set out to lead the ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ tour with a ‘Feminine Hygiene Awareness’ campaign. After visiting Hyderabad and Kolkata, she was in New Delhi on Tuesday (January 6), before continuing on to five other cities.

A cause close to her heart, creating awareness on menstrual hygiene was a social project presented by Chhillar at the Miss World contest, which eventually won her the title. Spilling the beans on how she was inspired to choose this issue for her Miss World project, she said, “I studied in Haryana to see the other side of life as a medical student, and got to know how women didn’t have enough money to buy sanitary pads and would often use old rags or a piece of cloth during periods.”

Taking it forward globally, Manushi is moving city-to-city and country-to-country spreading the message that ‘Freedom From Shame’ of menstruation is essential for healthy and happier women.

To break the taboo around menstruation, sanitary pads and spread awareness about maintaining female hygiene, Miss World chairman-CEO Julia Morley explained how the organisation is “taking the initiative ahead” and making it possible for scores of people in the rural areas to be able to access sanitary napkins.

Narrating her experience of interacting with the people there, Chillar said, “We had many discussions with not only women, but with families and told them the benefits of using pads and maintaining their health and hygiene. For the first time, we gave sanitary pads for free, and most women were satisfied and delighted after using it.”

Joining hands with Aakar Innovations, an NGO that works on the same issue, they are also planning to create more biodegradable sanitary napkins. Sharing a snippet of how they are working round the clock to make sustainable sanitary pads a reality, Chhillar posted a photo on Facebook with a note, saying, “At the Indian Jute Industries Research Association in Kolkata where they are making biodegradable and low cost sanitary pads from jute which is easily available in the area. The women of the community have been trained to make these pads. I also tried my hand at making one!”

Stressing on the importance of “education” and “curiosity”, she said it can be “used as a tool to spread awareness”. In an Instagram post with school girls in Kolkata, she had written: “Meet the kids from “New Light” living in the slums of Kolkata. Was greeted by such enthusiasm! It was so exciting to speak to them about school, science and many of them want to be doctors. Their curiosity was never ending and I had to face an army of questions which I enjoyed answering!”

At the Delhi press meet, there was also Miss World 2016 Stephanie Del Valle, along with Magline Jeruto (Miss World Africa), Ha Eun Kim (Miss World Asia), Annie Dian Evans (Miss World Oceania), Stephanie Jayne Hill (Miss World Europe), Solange Johnson Sinclair (Miss World Caribbean) and Alma Andrea Meza Carmona (Miss World America). They collectively also shed light on how menstrual hygiene is a global issue, and reflected on more ways to curb it. Drawing a comparison, Jeruto said how “it is not only a huge problem in India, but Kenya too.”

“With these small efforts, people are opening up to these ‘new’ ways of taking care of their hygiene during menstruation,” Chhillar said, adding, “Every single person, not just politicians have a responsibility and if everyone takes this up, then there will be no one to fight against!”

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Via:: Health – Indian Express


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