Teaching Teenagers To Deal Safely With Their 'Periods Of Pride'

Teaching Teenagers To Deal Safely With Their 'Periods Of Pride'

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, November 20, 2023, 10:18 AM IST
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Sandy Khanda, founder of Green Pencil Foundation |
Gourav Mishra, management consultant and mentor

Gourav Mishra, management consultant and mentor |

Sandy Khanda gave up a corporate job to take up social activism full-time, and set up Green Pencil Foundation in 2019

Mumbai: Growing up in rural Haryana, in a region he says commonly witnesses khap panchayat diktats issued and followed, Sandy Khanda found young people, boys and also girls, did not have enough education and awareness about menstruation. “There was a taboo to even discuss periods,” said Khanda, 29.

An engineer who moved to Mumbai when he got a job in the financial capital, Khanda founded the Green Pencil Foundation in 2019, through which he and a team of volunteers now conduct regular awareness-building workshops in schools on menstrual hygiene, safe menstrual hygiene products and on breaking taboos to discuss natural processes with a scientific approach. Called Periods Of Pride, the initiative has reached schools in Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, apart from parallel initiatives in other parts of the country including Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Haryana.


“Our workshops are based on surveys we did among teenagers across the country,” Khanda said. “We collected information related to young people’s attitudes to periods and challenges, and planned our workshops to be solution-oriented.”

Having quit a corporate job to take up social activism full-time, Khanda  said being a full-time social activist was a dream for him. He registered Green Pencil Foundation in Delhi but works across the country, including in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and other regions of Maharashtra.



Khanda said they teach teenagers about menstrual hygiene, the advantages and disadvantages of various kinds of menstrual products, etc. “Sanitary pads are not eco-friendly, they produce waste and add to the problem of dumping,” said Khanda. “We try to promote reusable cloth pads.” He said this was particularly true of rural areas where garbage disposal is less formalised. 
 
Simultaneously, the Green Pencil Foundation has recently started a ‘Green School Initiative’ with schools and colleges to make them free of polythene and plastic.

 
Gourav Mishra, a mentor-trainer for young people appearing for the CAT and other management entrance exams, said he met Khanda at a social initiative where they were both volunteering and remained in touch. “A committed team of volunteers helps operate the various initiatives of Green Pencil Foundation,” he said. “It’s rare for young professionals to give up corporate careers and take up work in the social sector full-time.”

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