P- Red (Project Red) is a flagship program of The Intelligent Indian (TIIx) which aims to engage with individuals and communities who are committed to deconstructing several institutional, structural, interpersonal, and social oppressive practices prevailing in the society against women, young girls, and non-binary individuals and others who menstruate. The program is bringing education, awareness, and discussion around menstrual hygiene management and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in classrooms.
There are around 355 million menstruating individuals in India, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the country’s population., where menstruation continues to be a subject of gender disparity in India. Moreover, there are around 1.2 billion adolescents (aged 10-19 years) constitute 16 percent of the world’s population, which makes it critically important to provide access to quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) services and information, to enable and empower them to make choices that will protect their health and their ability to plan their lives.
Myths about menstruation are largely prevalent, forcing many girls to drop out of school early or be ostracised for the duration of their menstrual cycle every month. The existing gender stereotypes, oppressive systems that dictate control over female sexuality, the power imbalance due to unfair allocation of resources, all aid in compounding the negative effects which factor onto the present and future generations.
Poor menstrual hygiene is the direct result of a lack of education about the subject, social taboos, lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and poor sanitation infrastructure. The connection between SRHR and menstrual hygiene can be broadly categorised under biological linkages and sociocultural barriers.
Taboos ensure that women are not able to reach their full potential and are forced to withdraw from pursuing their passions and talents. Discriminatory laws, financial barriers, inadequate facilities and supplies and negligence in treatment by service providers are all contributing factors to the lamentable conditions of women and girls in underserved communities.
P – Red is committed towards,
Breaking the taboos associated with menstruation and ensuring open conversations in society about menstruation and good menstrual hygiene, while ensuring that women and girls are made aware about good menstrual hygiene practices;
Bridging the gap of affordability and accessibility of sustainable menstrual products that can be used by menstruators;
Providing better sanitation infrastructure to menstruators (particularly in public schools) to ensure that they are not forced to face physical and mental hardships while menstruating; and
Initiate a holistic approach in teaching young girls about menstruation and SRHR, alongside public funding to ensure availability of hygienic sanitary facilities in public spaces, especially schools.
P- Red inspires to break the cycle of stereotyping and taboos by targeting not only education and awareness goals but also by working towards increasing access to hygiene products and better sanitation. We promote conversations around period poverty, menstrual hygiene management and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in classrooms and communities.
We have reached out to more than 20,000 teachers and school girls on menstruation, ideal hygiene practices and SRHR by providing them with increased awareness and enabling them to make informed decisions about their health and body. Our team has also worked towards providing free biodegradable sanitary pads to female students from underprivileged backgrounds, and to date, we have distributed more than 35,000 menstrual kits. The founder has recently designed India’s most affordable (non-electric) sanitary pad vending machine to make public schools, rehabilitation centres and shelter homes for disabled girls, menstruation compliant. We have started this as a pilot from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh where we have installed pad vending machines in 30 schools and shelter homes, and planning to cover 100 more schools by the end of 2021.
Reflecting through UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Awareness and access to good menstrual hygiene and sexuality is aligned with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as
It is important to understand that without ensuring access to proper menstrual hygiene education and products, it would never be possible to ensure sustainable development for all.
P- Red also aims to collaborate with other national and international organisations and institutions for the realisation of these goals. We’re closely working with several foreign governments, multilateral organisations including the UN and several other youth departments of the World Economic Forum and the World Bank.
We invite the participation and support of the youth that can help spread the message of awareness as we continue to work towards dismantling these elementary systems of oppression.