Uniqueness is a quality that is inherent in every single individual irrespective of their cast, creed , and colour. We are unique in our ways wherever we may belong to or what background we come from. Likewise we have such noteworthy institutions and organizations in our country which have their own unique ideas and visions to work for all the communities in our society which deserves much accolades and recognition. Each of them are different in the way they work for the betterment and the welfare of the society, hence contributing their bit towards the nation’s well being.
I am a Dental graduate living and earning my bread and butter in Bangalore which is known as the ‘Silicone Valley of India’ since it witnessed the emergence of several IT hubs and offices which has given a lot of job opportunities to our society. Not only job opportunities, this city has given opportunities of learning and growing and even to earn a living for each and everyone. This city is also a hub of elite educational institutions and organizations such as IISC, IIM Bangalore, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, NIMHANS, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research and Institute of Diabetology, many elite medical colleges, dental colleges and engineering colleges, Cental Silk Borad, Rotract clubs, Rotary clubs, Art of living foundations, Akshya Patra foundation, Youth for Parivartan to name few and lot more which are functioning in the heart of the city and around it.
Among all such wonderful and dignified institutions and organizations, I came across a very unique non- governmental organization (NGO) which works for a really serious issue of our society which is still prevalent in some sections in our country and are still considered a taboo by some , that is, Menstruation, Menstrual Health and Hygiene.
Janani- Jeevan ka Adhaar NGO (Mother- The Basis of Life) is that unique, worth mentioning organization which is Bangalore based and has been the brainchild of it’s founder Dr. Aastha Singh which she decided to give wings to while working as a volunteer for the organization ‘Youth For Parivartan’. She is a dental graduate and a year junior to me and is currently doing her internship from our esteemed college AECS Maaruti College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bangalore.
This wonderful organization is associated with ‘Green the Red Pan-India movement’ which is functioning all over India toward menstrual health. Janani NGO was born on 12th May 2019. It is now one year old and comprises of 70 plus members who actively participate for volunteering and educating our society by conducting Seminars, Webinars , Symposiums and Menstrual Health Programs across the city and the outskirts of the city. They have two keynote speakers Dr. Aastha Singh and Dr. Meenakshi Bharath. Many times a very known environmentalist and entrepreneur Nisha Bellare has been a keynote speaker for some of their seminars and symposiums too. The NGO is widely associated with Doctors and specialists like Gynaecologists in and around Bangalore who are enthusiastic in imparting knowledge about Menstrual health and Psychology associated with it.
This organization is actively working towards educating both the lower and upper sections of our society irrespective of genders, about the importance of menstruation, menstrual health, the importance of menstrual hygiene, sustainable menstruation and the psychology. They are focused on educating about the importance of using sustainable menstrual aids like ‘Sustainable Cloth Pads’ and ‘Sustainable Menstrual Cups’ that can be re- used and re-cycled again which will benefit our environment and will sustain the balance of our ecosystem and which is very economical too. They are very vocal about their usage and has addressed numerous myths, taboos and concerns regarding Menstruation and alternative Menstrual Aids among the society.
They have successfully conducted seminars in different organizations and institutions like Christ University, AECS Maaruti College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre etc and has addressed this issue to more than 2000 women, men and transgender men also. According to their sources they have successfully converted about 83 women towards Sustainable Menstruation which has changed their life towards a better direction and this has been their one of the greatest achievements so far.
The best thing about this wonderful organization is that their work is not only limited for the women of our society but also to the male section of our society and also to the transgender men irrespective of caste, colour, creed, religion and financial background.
The organization is crowd funded and receives funding mostly through donations and volunteering for their various projects. They also receive funds from IT sector volunteers from all over the city and around the city.
The volunteers who participate comes from all walks of life starting from college students to doctors , teachers and office goers also who are quiet enthusiastic about addressing the cause. Everyone has the same motto of educating the society about the noble cause and to break the taboo associated with Menstruation. Some volunteers have been actively participating in the NGO’s mission constantly since it’s inception. Few notable volunteers are Sameera Begum, Dr. Vasuki Krishnan, Srinivas Acharya, Rajsi Kulkarni, Monisha Chintala to name a few and many more. All have the same enthusiasm and zest to change the way our society thinks about the Menstrual cycle a woman goes through in her lifetime starting from her puberty days.
One of the most interesting contribution of Janani NGO in the recent times of Coronavirus Outbreak which is worthy of mentioning and worthy of recognition is their work towards the poorer section of our society, the migrant workers and also towards our voiceless stray fur friends.
These Coronavirus Pandemic days are the difficult days for all of us but it’s worst effects are being faced by our poorer section of society, our migrant workers who got stuck in the city with no work and no money due to the lockdown that has been imposed by the government to restrict the spread of the virus. And our voiceless stray fur friends have been badly affected too. During such difficult times, Janani NGO with the support of Rotact club of Koramangala donated more than 100 sanitary napkins to female migrant workers and daily wagers during these difficult times. They have even given education about menstruation, menstrual health and hygiene to these women.
For our fur friends- stray dogs and cats, the NGO received a collection of Rs.15,000 through crowd funding and donations which they have meticulously used for the noble purpose of feeding almost more than 60 dogs and cats with biscuits, milk, rice, chicken and eggs everyday for their sustenance during these difficult times. This is a very kind, selfless act on their part which makes them standalone from other organizations.
It is indeed the joint effort of Dr. Aastha Singh and these fabulous volunteers that has made them the star of our eyes and has made their every endeavours and missions a successful ones. Every effort of theirs’ are praise worthy and worth mentioning and deserves recognition on the higher platforms. Through their noble cause not only they are changing the way people used to think about menstruation and the taboos but also helping them to be aware of old world thinking which is prevalent still in some rural parts of our country where girls are forced to drop-out of schools once they start menstruating. This is affecting not only their mental health but also their physical health due to lack of knowledge and awareness among them about their menstrual health, ,menstrual hygiene and diseases that are prevalent with unhygienic menstrual conditions as well as their education that stagnates their growth to achieve greater heights. With all these aggregated efforts put together by the volunteers, they are trying to eradicate the menstrual taboos and misconceptions with determination and integrity.
Because they are vocal about their cause, they are changing the face of the society slowly but steadily with tireless efforts. Slowly the tag of ‘Taboo’, associated with the word ‘Menstruation’,is getting it’s way out from the face of the society, thanks to the NGOs efforts towards creating an awareness about it.
Janani NGO has come forward in creating an awareness among all the sections of the society and has addressed the issues up front and has enabled every women and transgender men to embrace their individuality, their body irrespective of their orientations and has helped them to be vocal about their mental health, physical health as well as their gynaecological health and not to shy away from it. This has helped many of us to gain confidence and self esteem and has helped us to spread the knowledge to each and everyone and to our future generations, not only by creating a vocal relation with them but also help create a sustainable environment for them to live in.
From the knowledge I gathered , in my view,this organization is not only unique in educating us and giving knowledge and insight about the menstrual health, sustainable menstruation and aids but has created a portal for all of us to address our issues without hesitation or fear of being ‘stereotyped’ for it. Menstruation is a part of our body which is not to be ashamed of but we should accept it as it is, as an integral part of our body and health. This organization- Janani- Jeevan ka Adhaar NGO deserves respect, recognition and accolades for the selfless and noble work they do for the society’s welfare, women health issues and their upliftment. Everything they do is praise worthy and that answers the reason I chose to mention about this organization so that their work gets identified, acknowleged and inspires each and every one of us and they get the recognition that they deserve for their selfless service towards the mankind. What they are gaining from all their efforts is our love, respect and innumerable supports.
Wishing them good luck and best wishes for their future endeavours, goals and missions and to continue their efforts to make the world a better place.
By Dikshya Bose