Friday, September 7, 2012

Sixty days of dignity

Let me state at the outset that I have had to overcome deep rooted inhibitions before writing this blog post, but I strongly believe that the surest way of getting our nation out of the morass it today flounders in is to educate and empower women, and that conviction has given me courage. I can therefore well imagine the cultural taboos that less fortunate, less educated women struggle against. 

Did you know that millions of women in India use sand, ash and rags during menses, and sometimes spend the entire period locked up in cow sheds? Girls drop out of school once they attain menarche because there are no  sanitation facilities and because they fear being teased by boys. This happens because women are the most marginalized  among India's poorest millions -----  they cannot afford to spend money on sanitary napkins, even if such saving means that they make themselves vulnerable to  disease, apart from suffering the hardship and indignity involved.

For several years now, GOONJ ( ) has been pioneering the effort to make and distribute reusable cloth sanitary napkins to these women. What GOONJ does is to use waste cloth to make sanitary napkins of its own design, and pack them into a drawstring pouch for a women to receive without embarrassment. Used cloth is measured, cut, washed, ironed and sterilised; the packages are then sent to far flung areas of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, UP and other States. This becomes an entry point for generating greater awareness on the related health and hygiene issues, an area that suffers from neglect because of the taboos involved.

This year, GOONJ is trying to make this initiative more broad based; they want to reach the Dignity Pack (affordable, easy to use, and clean cloth napkins, made out of waste cloth) to 50,000 women and girls in villages & slums. In this endeavour, they are looking for support from the urban masses ------ that's you and me. Each contribution of Rs 250 that we make will reach 12 packs of environment friendly GOONJ "Easy" cloth pads and 3 sets of undergarments to a woman, giving her SIXTY DAYS OF DIGNITY. Included in this amount is the cost of  information material, discussions and exhibitions to build awareness on this taboo but critical health issue. Will you please step forward to help GOONJ help at least one woman?

This is how you can contribute towards GOONJ's campaign SIXTY DAYS OF DIGNITY:

1. Direct Transfer

In favor of- GOONJ
Bank Name – HDFC BANK
Account No – 04801450000130
Bank Address – Plot No-9, H & J Block, Local Shopping Complex,
Sarita Vihar, New Delhi-110076
Bank Branch Code – 0480
IFSC Code – HDFC0000480
Bank Swift Code – HDFCINBB

2.  You can also drop a cheque /draft in the name of GOONJ in any  HDFC branch.

3.  Please share your full name, address, tel no. & PAN. For any queries, please call GOONJ at 011- 41401216, 26972351 or write to


  1. Your post makes compelling reading, Priya! Straight away I am drawing a cheque for Rs.1,000 in favour of Goonj. Thanks for waking me up!

  2. It makes you and me feel good about contributing to the cause. Why not we find ways to make the supplies available from the govt. to all the needy women in the country?