GIWA & WSSCC MHM Lab Opens in Rishikesh

The Global Interfaith Wash Alliance (GIWA) Menstrual Hygiene (MHM) Lab, in partnership with the WSSCC, was recently inaugurated with a very special appearance by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, who graced the facility and warmly-welcomed the volunteers, visitors and students that were present to utilize its services. The lab was designed and created to offer a safe space for young girls and women, as well as men and boys, to discuss menstruation and to learn more about it. It is hoped that the facility will also inspire visitors to return to their communities and neighborhoods to break the taboos and stigmas associated with the menstruation process.

In sharing with the attendees, Sadhvi Bhagawatiji spoke about these stigmas when she declared that menstruation is “Not something to feel down about, or dirty about. Women have been granted the wondrous blessing of being able to create and to co-create life and, to maintain the healthy body necessary for that creation, women’s bodies menstruate. It’s not something to be looked down upon. Rather, it’s something to be very proud of!”

Anar Patel, Co-founder of Manav Sadhana, Founder of Gramshree and Craftroots – all of which provide training, resources, empowerment and a future to disadvantaged women, offered heart-felt words of support to the girls, encouraging them to take care of their bodies and get a good education so that they can achieve any dream that they want and, by doing so, contribute to a better country and a more sustainable world. Anarben who is also the daughter of Hon’ble Governor of UP Anandiben Patel brought with her special guests from the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, Service Space in California who were also invited to participate in the event.

Many sevaks and guests from the Ashram joined the occasion including Shreya Lakhani from London who added her joy at seeing this beautiful programme and encouraged the students to recognize their inner strength and shakti.

The students visiting from GPS Muni Ki Reti, were delighted with all of the warm and wonderful words that were spoken by the guests, including the Director of Program Implementation at GIWA, Ganga Nandiniji, who affirmed the facility’s commitment to always provide access to the students and to all people that want to learn about menstruation, and to offer guidance and answer any questions that they might have. In addition, she indicated that resources – including sanitary napkins and pads – would be available from time to time to help them take better care of their bodies.

In closing, bracelets symbolizing the menstruation cycle were distributed, and a pledge was taken with the WSSCC MHM wheel to break the silence around menstruation.

About GIWA

GIWA is the globe’s first organization to bring together the leaders of all faiths and people from across India and around the world to inspire a planet where everyone, everywhere can have access to sustainable and healthy water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

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