Swapnopuron has taken an initiative in sensitizing and capacitating the adolescent girls and their family members in minimizing the knowledge gaps regarding Menstruation and subsequent health issues. The adolescents girls are mainly the targeted population for this initiative as it is well understood that adolescents are at the threshold of this physiological phenomenon and thus from this stage the positive facilitation regarding menstrual hygiene will keep a deep rooted impression which can have an intergenerational positive effect.
It is very much evident from the NHFH District Fact Sheet that in North 24 Parganas although the literacy rate has increased to more than 80% and the female literacy rate is showing quite satisfactory result in terms of taking admission in school (79.4%) but data of retaining in the school show a drastically dropout from the school. The district data depict that only 35 % of the woman who have completed 10 years of schooling. There is a great rural –urban gap in this data and only about 22% of the rural womencomplete class X. The lack of education leads these women to lack of awareness and less exposure and thus they are the victim of several myths and misconception towards their health specifically in terms of menstrual and reproductive health.
In the backward areas of Hasnabad and Hingalganj the situation is more severe. Almost all the students are first generation learner and some of them were found dropped out after the primary education. From the FGD it is revealed that almost 20% of the parents stated that they did not want to continue the education of their children after primary education. In the areas the occurrence of school dropout ranges from class VI to VIII.
From the FGDs it was found that poverty and the fear regarding the issue of girl’s insecurity, poor sanitation in schools are the main reasons for this discontinuity. In most of the cases it was found the boys are dropped out in search of job or for supporting their father in agriculture in search of livelihood. For the girls the reasons of drop out revealed mostly to support their mothers in domestic chore, look after their younger siblings or they were given to marriage,. Elope marriage is also on a high note. (Source: Primary data collected)
As per NFHS –IV still the child marriage prevalence rate in the rural areas is very high which almost 25 %. This Survey also portray that quite a good percentage of girls get pregnant between 15-19 years. The primary data of these two community development blocks show concordance to the NFHS. Almost 30% of the girls who were found married before 18 years. During the survey almost all the girls told that they had their first gravid before 18 years. The pregnancy at the age of 15-16 years were also recorded.
Swapnopuron started this program in July 2018 in 3 Government schools under Hingalganj Block and 1 school under Hasnabad Block, North 24 Parganas. The responses from the participating girls in this program has been very impressive as the program intervention plan has been aligned in such a way that it meets their requirement in particular days of the months. After repeated sessions with the girls they became more and more sensitive to the issue. We have been able to create an impact by touching 1634 girls in 2018.
Recent field program in April 2019 has increased attendance of girls by almost 70% in these schools.
Considering the immense responses from students and schools, Swapnopuron intends to cover another 12 Government schools in next one year time in these two locations provided resource arrangement is made and the supply chain for sanitary napkins are also made available.
We intend to create meaningful impact in the lives of the adolescents through which they can lead a life with dignity and enjoy their Rights & Entitlements.