SIVASAGAR, Aug 29 - Periodic absenteeism owing to menstruation and dropping out of schools after attaining puberty, has always been a subject of concern at the individual as well as societal level in the hinterland of rural India. In order to address this issue, the Sivasagar district administration has embarked on a mission in consonance with Swachh Bharat Mission objectives by rolling out the first of its kind Menstrual Hygiene Management programme in the district, named �Sakhi: A ray of hope�.
The project was formally inaugurated by the Minister of Power, Tapan Gogoi in the presence of MP, Jorhat LS constituency, Kamakhya Prasad Tassa, Deputy Commissioner, Sivasagar, Pallav Gopal Jha, District Development Commissioner, Abhijit Baruah, Executive Director ONGCL, SD Maske, Chief of Field Officer of UNICEF, Dr Tushar Rane, WASH Specialist, UNICEF, Sweta Patnaik besides other dignitaries at Yuvadol, Sivasagar.
As part of Phase I, 17 (13 government schools having female adolescents) schools and one college viz., the Sibsagar Girls� College will be having sanitary vending machines and incinerators. The project would also see the formation of WASH groups in all these schools and college with a nodal teacher, who would be the torch bearers in percolating the good habits of safe and hygienic disposal practices, removal of social taboos and other related sanitation issues.
Minister Tapan Gogoi said, �Times are changing and Sivasagar district administration�s step towards menstrual hygiene management is a testimony of that. I congratulate the district administration of Sivasagar in taking up this important initiative. The subject of menstruation has been discussed in our State Assembly and funds have been allocated in the Budget. But we have to create awareness in the community and Sivasagar district can be a role model for other districts to follow.� The Deputy Commissioner speaking on the occasion said that it would imbibe leadership skills in the younger generations as well and they will be able to address the social taboo attached with menstruation right from the word go. �The project is based on a self sustaining manner and will tackle the issue of drop-outs due to menstruation head on,� said Pallav Gopal Jha, the Deputy Commissioner of Sivasagar.
The project has been conceptualised and implemented by the district administration, Sivasagar, and supported by ONGCL, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility activity. The official inauguration of the sanitary napkin vending machines took place at two places simultaneously viz., Sibsagar Girls� College and Nazira Higher Secondary Girls� School while the formal lighting ceremony and other programmes are being held at Yuvadol. Noted gynaecologist of Assam, Dr Arun Madhab Barua also interacted with the college students of Sibsagar Girls� College and answered their queries on menstruation issues.