A social scenario changer driven by both passion and compassion, Shuma Banik, an engineer by degree and now a Gandhi fellow working with 60 schools in Olpad block of Surat district. Out of all the processes that she with her fellow mates go through in the Fellowship, there is a process called Community Immersion where they go and stay with a family in the village from where the students come to school. During her first Community Immersion, she got a chance to interact with a lot of girls from the community and got to know how they miss out on classes and even drop out from school as soon as they get their periods. Due to lack of knowledge about menstruation and unhygienic practices they get infections which are impacting their health and education
In line with the processes of fellowship, she started an initiative called Happy Periods with the vision of creating period ready schools and villages. Happy Periods is working towards menstrual awareness keeping Asha workers (local health worker of the village), teachers, parents and Head Masters in a loop.
Happy Periods sessions are conducted with Video Learning Material by Menstrupedia, Menstrupedia comics, activity booklet, 3 art activities and few reflective activities. Their vision is to create period ready schools, villages and communities all over India and bringing into practice the idea of sustainable menstruation.
Happy Periods has reached to 657 girls from 11 villages across 3 blocks, Olpad, Bardoli and Mahuva. After each workshop, when she with her team conducted the End-line with the help of a questionnaire, the girls told the team that they felt much more confident about Periods and they won’t skip their classes because of periods after this and most importantly, they don’t consider themselves impure anymore. They told that they are no more afraid of periods and believe that menstruation is a normal process.
The Menstrupedia comic books that are distributed are kept in the libraries of the schools and one teacher is given the responsibility to help the girls understand the comic so that this becomes a part of their school process.
Thousand Miles wishes this young team all the good wishes!!