The Period Protection Project is a youth organisation with a mission to end menstrual inequality. It was founded by Sukanya Biswas in 2020 who is studying economics at the University of Calcutta. Her own painful period experiences led her to dive deep into the unspoken topic of lack of menstrual products for women in India.
Miss Biswas organises regular drives and field walks along with her volunteers to carry out one to one conversations with menstruators about their daily lives and struggles. With more drives being added to their schedule, the team of volunteers of the project has come to realise the scope of this initiative. They have acknowledged the difficulty of carrying out this initiative by stating that “we realise how far we are from ending the shame and stigma associated with menstruation and that there is a long path ahead of us because changing a system that has prevailed ever since we started menstruating is quite an extraordinary challenge, even more for an issue which incites shame in people.”
In order to highlight on this, the project volunteers shared a couple experiences with STARE. During a drive organised for the homeless in Kolkata, a worried woman stated that her husband would not appreciate it if she took the ‘package’ home. Another said that pads were a privilege for her lifestyle where she could not even afford food on many days.
On one other such drives, the team was yelled at by the mother of a 15 year old for giving her a package of pads stating how she and her daughter wanted nothing to do with it. These reactions from the common people clearly showcase the taboo around the topic of menstruation.
Initiatives such as The Period Protection Project are a ray of hope to make periods safer for menstruators and reducing shame around period conversations. They are helping educate and empower women stepping over the age-old social stigma around menstruation.
All images provided by ‘The Period Protection Project’.