To ensure that the menstrual health and hygiene needs of women and girls living in the society are met during the Covid-19 crisis, Jaipur’s Aanchal Mishra has recently joined the revolutionary ‘Pad Squad’ movement. 17-year-old, Aanchal is India’s youngest ‘Padsquadder’ and is currently studying in class 12 in Jayshree Periwal International School in Jaipur. The pandemic has not only made basic essentials like food scarce for the most vulnerable communities, but menstrual hygiene products like sanitary pads have also become a huge luxury for women living in these areas. She is joined by Jitesh Thakur of Jaipur who is India’s first male ‘Padsquadder’. Together the duo have completed their first drive by distributing as many as 1500 sanitary pads to the women living in C-Scheme and Raja Park.
Talking about how she came to join the movement, Aanchal said that there are still large sections of the society who are unaware of the basic menstrual hygiene practices. Many women continue to use cloth instead of sanitary pads. ‘Pad Squad’ is a good platform to steer women towards practising better hygiene during their monthly cycles. Aanchal is also engaged in various other social activities like promoting handicrafts in Jaipur.
Jitesh Thakur said that: “Women’s menstrual hygiene has long been an issue left untouched by the menfolk. I believe that menstrual hygiene is an issue that needs urgent attention in our country. Many men hesitate to join such movements, I wanted to be the flag bearer so that more men get inspired and join the movement.”
Talking about bringing the movement to Jaipur, Co-founder of ‘Pad Squad’ Chhitra Subramaniam, said that: “It is heart-warming to witness young minds like Aanchal Mishra who are interested in upholding the health and dignity of underprivileged communities in Jaipur. Not only this, Padsquadder Jitesh Thakur is helping break the gender barriers surrounding menstrual hygiene by being the first male to join the movement.
*About Pad Squad*
‘Pad Squad’ movement, started on 1 June 2020 is a people’s movement across India. It enables an individual to take personal-social responsibility and action distribute sanitary pads to economically disadvantaged women within their locality, town, or city. The movement is committed to preserve the dignity and health of menstruating women and girls. ‘Pad Squad’ directly reaches the people through the ‘Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan’, and other volunteering collaborating networks across India that work directly with the communities. Currently, ‘Pad Squad’ is in 21 cities and providing pads to around 25 communities with growing figures every day.