Menstrual Hygiene Friendly Spaces (MHFS) is working towards menstrual equity and fostering menstrual health and hygiene-friendly work, study and public place environments. Its main objective is to bridge the gap of affordability and accessibility of sustainable menstrual products while ensuring proper education on sexual and reproductive health to menstruators and enabling basic sanitation facilities at all spaces.
WHAT WE DO
Creating period-friendly work, study and public spaces through behavioural, infrastructural change and ensuring basic sanitation facilities. Alongside empowering young girls on NCD prevention, sensitisation on sexual and reproductive health and rights, using sustainable menstrual products, and taking informed decisions about their health and body.
We support menstruators with biodegradable sanitary pads that are natural, do not contain plastic and other harmful chemicals and are totally safe for the user as well as being eco-friendly. This is powered by environment education that educates them on carbon footprint of menstrual products and how they are part of a network that promotes the use of eco-friendly products.
A report by NGO Dasra titled Spot On! found that nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene management facilities, which include availability of sanitary napkins and logical awareness of menstruation. The report also came up with some startling numbers which highlights that 71 per cent adolescent girls remained unaware of menstruation till menarche. A UNICEF report pointed out that in Uttar Pradesh, 66 percent of girls and women were unaware of menstrual hygiene practices.
Improper hygiene during periods can cause uncomfortable conditions like bacterial infections to more serious ones like reproductive tract infections or even cervical cancer among many other non-communicable diseases. Microbes like Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas can multiply in the humid environment provided by prolonged use of damp and dirty menstrual clothes or using a sanitary napkin for longer than 6 or 8 hours (by Stayfree). Such bacteria can enter the urinary tract including the urethra and urinary bladder leading to painful urination, lower abdominal pain, back pain, and fever.
Statistics estimate that it takes about 500 years for a sanitary pad to degrade. In India alone, around 9,000 tons of plastic waste is generated due to sanitary napkin waste (from over 400 million used and disposed off pads).