A village called Kumbalangi in Ernakulam district of Kerala has been declared the first napkin-free village in the country. According to a report in Hindustan Times, more than 5,000 menstrual cups have been distributed among girls and women and they have been given training by volunteers for three months about their use and advantages, said organisers of a campaign, “Avalkayi” (for her). Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan said that Kumbalangi is a role model for all villages in the country and such schemes would go a long way in empowering women. “Our country will prosper only if our villages do,” he added.
According to MP Hibi Eden, the project is being implemented as part of ‘Avalkayi’ (for her) scheme being implemented in the Ernakulam parliamentary constituency. The other partners in the scheme are HLL Management Academy through their ‘Thingal’ scheme and Indian Oil Corporation, said a report in India Today. Eden told Hindustan Times that the latest initiative will help reduce pollution caused by synthetic napkins and ensure personal hygiene to working women and students. He said many people, including actor Parvathi, have helped him to carry out the project. “We have installed napkin-vending machines in many schools but often they created problems. Then this idea came up and we studied it in detail and sought expert advice. Experts said cup can be re-used for many years and it is more hygienic,” he told the publication.
According to the study published in The Lancet Public Health, some 70 per cent of women who have tried menstrual cups say they would like to continue using them. The news is important considering the fact that sanitary protection remains unavailable and not affordable to many women, and thus monthly bleeding keeps many girls and women out of school or work and puts them at risk of urinary tract infections. Thus, a safe, affordable and long-lasting alternative to pads and tampons, the menstrual cups could help save millions of lives.