Kerala has become the first Indian state to make sanitary pad vending machines compulsory in all higher secondary schools.
The Government has instructed all higher secondary schools to have vending machines from the beginning of the new academic year. The instructions also mentioned that the number of vending machine should be proportionate to the number of girl students in the school.
These instructions are part of the government's She Pad scheme, which aims to provide sanitary pads to all girl students. The education department has also directed all government, private aided and aided schools to ensure clean drinking water, and separate toilets for boys and girls.
As reported in a Facebook post, Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minster of Kerala, said: “Every woman has a right to menstrual hygiene. The government's ‘She Pad’ scheme is aimed to distribute healthy and clean sanitary pads to all school students across the state. An eco-friendly disposal system and distilleries for used pads will be distributed as part of the scheme. An estimated Rs 30 crore will be spent on the scheme over the next few years. The project is being implemented with the support of local self-government institutions under the leadership of the State Women Development Corporation.”
According to the government data, there are a total 1,845 higher secondary schools in Kerala.
The state government's initiative is laudable, considering that menstrual hygiene is still a taboo topic in the country.