A 12th grade girl from Pulwama raises awareness about menstrual hygiene and mental health
Seher Mir, a 17-year-old 12th grader from Pampore in Pulwama, is raising awareness of two taboo subjects, mental health and menstruation. As part of her campaign, she runs awareness campaigns in government schools and among women in rural areas.
As part of her campaign, she runs awareness campaigns in government schools and among women in rural areas. Andleb-i-Firdous, also known as “ZOON”, is a non-profit youth organization whose seeds were sown by Seher Mir in October 2021.
The organization works to raise awareness of menstruation and mental health by honoring important landmarks and their people.
The main goal of the organization is to instill the values of women’s health, menstrual hygiene management and sanitation in rural girls and women.
Her determination had a domino effect and what started as a single person’s idea grew into a team of 50 like-minded teenagers.
Speaking to ANI, Sehar Mir said: “When we talk about Kashmir, women are most targeted and isolated when they accept the menstrual cycle as a natural phenomenon and openly talk about menstruation and related issues. They are unaware of safe menstrual hygiene practices and sustainable menstrual solutions.”
“The majority of rural Kashmiri women still use dirty clothes as absorbents during their periods for many reasons. One of the main reasons for not using hygiene products during your period is shyness. They are ashamed to buy sanitary napkins. We started at the birthplace of an important Kashmiri figure, Habba Khatun. At her birthplace, Chandhara, we run many menstrual health initiatives to provide accessible menstrual products while educating young girls about menstrual health and hygiene,” she said.
She said they run awareness campaigns not only on menstruation and mental health, but also on climate change and economic stability.
“We also raise awareness in state schools. Our focus is now to move to private schools as well. She said. I started with my own pocket money but ended up starting a fundraiser and raising about 50,000. Then aside from that, I have a few people who voluntarily donate money to the organization,” she said.
“Over time, Andleb-i-Firdous, commonly referred to as ZOON, has broadened its reach and is currently addressing not only mental health and menstruation, but also issues such as climate change and economic stability in its awareness campaigns. The campaigns are characterized by the spread of sanitary napkins at the end,” she continued.
Additionally, ZOON’s Instagram handle @andleb_i_firdous addresses a range of mental disorders, menstrual and hygiene, and sexual abuse, Sehar said.
According to Sehar Mir, since the establishment of the “Zoon”, 50 unpaid volunteers from the NGO have managed to carry out awareness campaigns in remote areas such as Pattan Baramulla, Mirgund Baramulla, Chandhara Pampore, Shar Shali Pampore, Laltrag Pampore and Zfrage Pulwama Many other backward villages of Kashmir give theirs Share knowledge to over 600 students and distribute more than 10,000 free sanitary napkins among them.
She said they have received recognition for their work from the authorities and are quickly gaining recognition through their Instagram name.
“There are very few student-run organizations in Kashmir. This is mainly due to the social pressure not to go in these directions and to concentrate only on studies. I was a person who always wanted to make people aware of the stereotypes that existed in our society and to actually help people,” she said.
“By starting this organization I was able to reach people and finally started to do what I had wanted for a very long time. The best part was the feedback I got from the students, which made our team even more motivated,” she added.
She further explained the stigmatic situation in the country regarding menstrual problems.
“According to a study, 88% of menstruating women in India use homemade alternatives such as old fabrics, while 63 million adolescent girls live without toilet facilities. Ignorance, poverty and neglect are the main reasons for poor menstrual hygiene,” she said.
“Even in this day and age, conversations about topics like mental health and menstrual health are often avoided. Especially in rural areas, where even the first waves of modernization have not yet arrived, this has had devastating, albeit expected, consequences. The ignorant masses have highly stigmatized issues that need to be addressed as a matter of priority,” she said.
“I have some classmates of core members of my zoon namely Nuha Masood (DPS), a 12th grade student, Ahmad Wani (DPS), a 12th grade student, and Fayiez Rafiq (Burnhall), a 12th grade student . In such a scenario, raising awareness becomes the most important first step against stigma,” she added. (ANI)