Happy Surprises

Contributed by: Abhilasha Sachan
Dated: 8th May, 2015

‘Menstruation’, this single word can invoke different reactions in different people, my reaction towards it was that it is an important issue and that we need to take it seriously. Starting from personal conversations to having workshops for adolescent girls, each thread holds its importance to help us to see menstruation as a normal biological process and all of it needs to be discussed seriously.

A recent session held at Kasturba Gandhi Vidalaya, Barabanki, conducted by Project KHEL came as a happy surprise as I realized how easy and equally fun-filled it could be to talk about menstruation and impart the necessary information related to it. It is important to talk about Menstruation but it is not necessary that sessions should be grave and serious.

Kids are inquisitive by nature and they are smart, they are good observers and it is essential that we build upon their pre-existing knowledge to teach/tell them about something new. I saw this being practically applied in Project KHEL’s session, it was like connecting the dots, and students related to what they know and step by step were able to gain complete knowledge about Menstrual Hygiene. Moreover not only students, but I as an observer was also able to enjoy it equally.

During my community project ( in Gandhi Fellowship ), I have designed and taken sessions on creating Menstrual Hygiene Awareness, but I never imagined that knowledge could be built together in a session so completely instead of only information being delivered.

On reflection, I realized that somehow I had conditioned myself to think that students would shy away from the topic and thus I need to deliver information and make them understand how important Menstrual Hygiene is. I undermined their natural curiosity and pre-knowledge.

Every kid is inquisitive in his or her own way and they want to learn and understand as much as possible. They have hundred of questions while growing up and answering these questions is important.

Project KHEL’s session respected their curiosity and their pre-knowledge. It was highly evident with the high energy with which students participated in the session, when encountered with personal questions regarding menstruation, they were shy but it melted away as soon as the facilitator made them realize that we all menstruate and how natural it is.

My best moment was when the girls were asked ‘ kya hum gande khoon se bane hai‘ and all of students replied together “NAHIN!” Just a few minutes earlier, they had been of the opinion that menstrual blood is dirty and impure.

From my own experience conversations with many people related to menstruation, revealed that most of them have a very strong belief that menstrual blood is impure. How easily that myth was broken in this session by telling students why and how menstrual cycle happens! Information itself acted as a change agent.

I will be thankful to Project KHEL for teaching me how to enjoy one’s (serious) work and how to build knowledge together.