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Bhondsi’s ‘Padwomen’ bid to change inmates’ health

The inmates, trained by an NGO make 800 t0 1,000 sanitary napkins every day

gurgaon Updated: Feb 01, 2018 23:14 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Sanitary pads made by 13 woman inmates of Bhondsi jail will be supplied to all prisons across Haryana.
Sanitary pads made by 13 woman inmates of Bhondsi jail will be supplied to all prisons across Haryana.(HT PHOTO)

Thirteen women inmates of the Bhondsi Jail are changing their fellow inmate’s health and menstrual hygiene by making sanitary napkins inside the prison facility.

“We used to use cloth and when we would wash the cloth it would stink. At times, it would lead to rashes; even our clothes would get stained,” Shiv Kumari, an inmate, said, adding that with time, the use of sanitary napkins in the prison has removed a lot of mental blocks among inmates, most of whom are from villages.

Sanitary napkins, which is being supplied free-of-cost to all inmates in the Bhondsi jail, has become popular in villages as women inmates spread awareness about it when they return home.

“This project has made women more aware about hygiene all over Haryana. Earlier, women would use cloth (during their period). Now, they can use these sanitary napkins,” Bhondsi jail superintendent Jai Kishan Chillar said.

The women, who were trained last year under an initiative of the state prisons department in collaboration with an NGO, India Vision Foundation, are now manufacturing between 800 to 1,000 sanitary napkins every day.

The initiative, which is in its initial stages, has been started from a room with five machines and is expected to grow further as the department works towards providing the female hygiene products to all women inmates in the 19 jails across the state.

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India Vision Foundation is in the process of collecting data on all women in different jails of the state to understand the demand, and accordingly amp up the production.

With each of the trained inmates spending three to four hours with the machines every day, the drive to produce more sanitary napkins is building up in them.

“The aspect I consider of extreme importance is the skill to make these napkins. We have learnt it and later, once we are out of here, this skill will help us get employment and support ourselves,” 35-year-old inmate Puja said. Puja is among the 13 women who were trained.

“During our work, we found that inmates were aware about menstrual hygiene. So we pitched an idea to the Rotary and Lioness clubs to help us set up this centre. This project will not only help the inmates in learning a new skill, but also help other inmates become aware about the use of sanitary napkins,” Monica Dhawan, director of Indian Vision Foundation, said.