Mumbai: Actress Taranjit Kaur and producer Chitra Subramaniam started ‘Pad Squad’ and distributed sanitary pads for the underprivileged girls and women during the lockdown.
According to reports published of National Family Health Survey which was published in 2017, only 58% of women of age 15-24 use a hygienic method for their menstrual protection. The pandemic also increased the restrictions for the underprivileged women to buy sanitary pads. So Chitra and Taranjit decided to solve this problem.
They started an initiative called ‘Pad Squad’ along with their few friends for the distribution of free sanitary pads in Mumbai.
“Initially, we started with just our neighbourhood. But as we posted on social media, more people joined. We received over 10,000 pads in three days,” Taranjit was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Now, the initiative has 55 members from over 25 cities. They have distributed over five lakhs pads among the needy.
Chitra reached into the slums in Shivaji Nagar, Juhu and Ambawadi in Mumbai to distribute the pads. “With the lockdown, it was challenging to move around. But you have to go to these places to understand the problems of the people. Each place is a mini world in itself. You need to talk to the women there and explain menstrual hygiene to them,” said Chitra.
She also said that it is not a one-shot solution. She added, “You need to revisit these places, to get to know their issues. So, it’s better to identify an area and revisit it instead of providing scattering support.”
Both Chitra and Taranjit have requested the ‘padsquadders’ to keep a ‘pad peti’ -a box to collect sanitary pads in their houses during ‘Daan Utsav’ which is a week-long philanthropy festival.
“The support was great. We managed to collect over 1.5 lakh pads in that week alone. From a 14-year-old boy to an 80-year-old woman, a lot of people took part in the initiative.”
The Pad Squad has its supporters from around the world. A human rights activist, Ekemi Inyang will also initiate a similar programme and gather more ‘Pad Squadders’ in Africa.