May 2022 | India: On the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th May 2022), Sirona – a disruptive leading Indian feminine hygiene brand with the Sirona Hygiene Foundation, announces the donation of 5000 menstrual cups to underprivileged menstruators across India along with training over 3 menstrual cycles on how to use the cup to ensure adoption.
The Sirona Hygiene Foundation is the social responsibility arm of Sirona which works towards reducing period poverty and gender equality in India. The foundation aims to end period poverty in the country, by giving menstrual cup accessibility and training to over 1 Lakh underprivileged women, through its flagship project- Lakhon Khwaishein. In the last one year, the foundation has donated 5000 cups and this Menstrual Hygiene Day, 28th May, 2022, it pledges to donate another 5000 cups to achieve its goal of reducing period poverty. To support the foundation’s efforts, the brand Sirona contributes INR 1 per product sold towards initiatives that improve menstrual health and hygiene of underprivileged women across India.
Period poverty is a public health crisis that has been difficult to solve despite numerous health programs. Especially in a country like India where menstruation is still a taboo. As per NFHS 5 data, among the rural areas, only seven states and UTs, including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Telangana, Kerala, Mizoram, and Dadra & Nagra Haveli, had 90% or more women using sanitary items. In contrast, Jammu & Kashmir, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Gujarat, and Bihar had 70% or less women using sanitary items. In fact, only in 2021, the government clarified that sanitary napkins are to be included in the list of essential commodities.
Hence, with the goal of removing the stigma around menstruation for all those who menstruate and creating an enabling environment through policy, advocacy, and support for sustainable menstruation, Sirona Hygiene Foundation was set up in 2020 and has been committed to educating, enabling, and empowering women everywhere with the means to improve their menstrual health and hygiene.
A governing body member of the Sustainable Menstruation Coalition, the Sirona Hygiene Foundation till date has worked with 54 organisations such as Raintree, PVR Nest, TYCIA, SOS Children’s Villages of India, Sangam world Centre, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, etc to reach the right beneficiaries to solve menstrual health issues. In 2021 alone, the foundation impacted 5000+ lives by empowering them with the knowledge of Menstrual Hygiene and Sustainable Menstruation. The foundation conducts training sessions to help them understand the use of menstrual cups with follow-up sessions to ensure product use over a period of time. It is also driving discussions and conversations with organizations working with Trans Men and other menstruators and aims to not leave anyone behind.
Deep Bajaj, CEO & Co-Founder, Sirona, said, “At the core of Sirona Hygiene Foundation lies a deep-rooted vision to see a world where every woman and girl is empowered to live a healthy life, free of stigma, prejudice, and forced choices. Our initiatives aim to break the cycle of age-old taboos and social norms that still dictate how a woman feels about and approaches her menstrual hygiene. If we all take a small step of spreading awareness and educating even one woman around us, we will cover miles of this long road ahead of us and get closer to ending period poverty.”
Dr. Diksha S Chadha M.D., Director of Social Programs, Sirona Hygiene Foundation, said, “Starting from a place where we used to receive calls to donate pads, we are proud to have found community partners who dared to think ahead and support our sustainable menstruation solutions. Pads needed repeated funding, while menstrual cups donated and adopted once, can be used for upto 10 years. Menstrual cups are not our innovation, it existed for a while out there. But what we have been able to establish is a resourceful system of menstrual health care delivery, utilizing our network of community partners and unique training and monitoring protocols, suitable in the socio-cultural context of our country. All of it is impossible without the hard work of our partner NGOs on ground”
Leena Dandekar, Founder, and Director of Raintree Foundation, said, “Sustainable menstrual hygiene management is the need of the hour. Menstrual cups have proven to be cost-effective, eco-friendly, safe, and reusable and we are looking to generate awareness with the women in our community on it. Therefore, we have partnered with Sirona Hygiene Foundation (SHF) in providing menstrual cups and doctor consultation to beneficiaries from Self-help groups (SHGs) in its project area under project Mukta. Co-created with SHF, project Mukta is aimed at breaking the taboo and normalizing period talk. This partnership has turned out into a very fruitful collaboration as it has helped our beneficiaries to have open conversations about sexual and reproductive health (SRH). A platform like this was inaccessible for our beneficiaries before and these conversations are helping them understand Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) better.”