Pulwama teenager tackles societal taboos by raising awareness

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Pulwama: An 18-year-old is tackling the societal taboos head-on as she spreads awareness regarding mental health and safer practices during menstruation with other teenagers.

Seher Mir sowed seeds with Andleb-i-Firdous, formerly known as ‘ZOON’, a non-profit youth organisation in October 2021.

Mir, a resident of Pampore in Pulwama, launched a campaign to raise awareness of two taboo topics: mental health and menstruation.

Mir and her team are organising campaigns among rural women and in government-run schools. The organisation promotes significant sites and the people living there in an effort to raise awareness about menstruation and mental health.

The organisation’s major objective is to educate rural girls and women regarding the importance of women’s health, menstrual hygiene management, and sanitation.

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), nearly 60 percent of women in Jammu and Kashmir still use cloth for menstrual protection during periods. The survey (2019-2021) also reveals that merely 50.5 per cent of women aged between 15-24 use sanitary napkins.

“Shyness is one of the main causes of period non-use of any sanitary items. They are afraid to purchase sanitary napkins. We began in the city where Habba Khatun, a significant Kashmiri figure, was born. We organise numerous period health drives in Chandhara, the city where she was born, to provide affordable menstruation products and instruct young girls on menstrual health and hygiene,” she said.

The members have started to conduct drives in many parts of Kashmir such as Pattan Baramulla, Mirgund Baramulla, Chandhara Pampore, Shar Shali Pampore, Laltrag Pampore, Zantrag Pulwama, Haal Pulwama. More than a thousand students are being taught in Tral and other impoverished villages in Kashmir, and more than 10,000 free sanitary products are being distributed to the children.

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