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Not just airports, AAI is taking sanitary napkin vending machines to schools across 20 cities

PW Bureau

AAI has launched a project under which it plans to install napkin vending machines and incinerators in schools and create awareness about menstrual hygiene New Delhi: In India, 23 million adolescent girls drop out of school every year when they start menstruating (according to a 2014 report by an NGO named Dasra). To do its bit in fighting this persistent problem, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) launched the Sanitary Napkin Usage and Menstrual Hygiene Project on December 5. After successful execution of pilot project Kalyanmayee, this project was launched by AAI’s Women’s Welfare Association. Started earlier this year, the three-year drive includes installation of sanitary napkins vending machines and incinerators in schools in 20 cities across the country, having AAI Airports, and creating awareness camps in slum areas. Some of these target cities include Amritsar, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Trivandrum and Mangalore. The project was launched by Anjali Mohapatra, president, Kalyanmayee in presence of AK Pathak, member, Planning, AAI, and officials of AAI.

Till date, 60 vending machines and 60 incinerators have been installed in 60 schools in 20 cities with 40,265 beneficiaries.

The objective of the project is to create awareness about menstrual hygiene practices, and bursting the myths and taboo attached to menstruation. The project provides alternative low-cost lab-tested napkins as compared to the expensive napkins available in the market. This is done by installation of sanitary napkins vending machines in schools in low-income areas and by distributing free sanitary napkins in the camps organised in the slum areas. Awareness camps are being organised in slum areas regularly and in selected schools where the machines are installed and replenished four times a year to promote their usage. Till date, 60 vending machines and 60 incinerators have been installed in 60 schools in 20 cities with 40,265 beneficiaries. Awareness Camps to boost the usage of sanitary napkins have been conducted in 15 schools and benefitting 8020 beneficiaries.

The project focuses on importance of ensuring a healthy and hygienic environment by teaching women the best ways to dispose of the napkins they are using.

A total number of 240 camps per year have been planned to be organised in 20 cities, consecutively in three financial years covering 24,000 overall beneficiaries per annum in slum areas. Total number of beneficiaries envisaged in the project period is 72,000. As of date, 126 camps have been organised in the slum areas in different airport cities and 13,882 beneficiaries have been covered in 2018-19. The project focuses on importance of ensuring a healthy and hygienic environment by teaching women the best ways to dispose of the napkins they are using. To this end, incinerators are installed in selected schools and awareness camps are being organised in selected schools. In addition to Sanitary Napkin Project, Kalyanmayee, in association with Asia Oceania Research Organisation on Genital Infections and Neoplasia, India (AOGIN), is also conducting cervical screening checkup camps in slum areas in 14 cities for women aged 30-60 years from underprivileged sections of society.