The Bihar student who was rebuked by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer for seeking sanitary pads at an affordable cost will receive a year’s supply of sanitary pads and funding for her education.
The 20-year-old Riya Kumari raised the issue of costly sanitary pads during a workshop on ‘Sashakt Beti, Samriddh Bihar: Towards enhancing the value of girls’. Kumari had asked, “When the government is providing us school uniforms, scholarships and so many things, why can’t it provide Whisper for 20 to 30 rupees?”
Senior Bihar IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra replied, “Today, you are asking for sanitary pads, tomorrow you will ask for condoms. Why do you need to take things from the government?”
Bhamra’s comment took social media by storm and the National Commission for Women (NCW) sought an explanation from the IAS officer.
Bihar Girl Gets Sponsor
Riya Kumari was rewarded for raising the question during the workshop. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wet and Dry Personal Care, Hariom Tyagi said the company would reward Kumari for her “boldness to raise from a public forum the issue of easy access to menstrual hygiene methods for poor girls and women living in slums”.
Wet and Dry Personal Care manufactures Everteen sanitary pads.
Tyagi said that speaking about menstrual hygiene is considered to be a taboo subject in India. He added Kumari being bold enough to bring it up during a public forum would encourage girls to speak up about the issue without feeling ashamed.
The company will give Kumari a year’s supply of sanitary pads and fund her education up to graduation level.
Kumari, who lost her father in 2020 said she was grateful for the gesture. Her elder brother Ghusu Paswan, works as a porter just like their late father did. Paswan is supporting his six siblings and mother.
Kumari spoke about her question which lead to controversy and said, “It was not a big demand that I made. I just said that the government should provide free sanitary pads because as it is, the government is giving lots of free things.”
Suggested Reading: Someone Tell IAS Harjot Kaur, Condoms And Sanitary Pads Should Be Provided For Free