Meet Surat’s Padwali Aunty who Gives Free Pads to Girls
It’s been a while since we have had “Pad” dominating headlines. Be it Padmaavat or Padman, it’s been under the limelight for months now. Today, another headline “Padwali Aunty” flashed. The story turned out to be inspiring and encouraging. A story that everyone should know and learn something about.
Meena Mehta, a 62-year old woman along with her husband Atul Mehta distributes free kits to girls in Surat. As reported by NDTV, Meena has been doing this since 2012. Back then, she saw four girls picking used sanitary pads from the garbage bin. After she intervened, the girls mentioned that they clean the used pads and reuse it. This incident left her in a shock. But she did not just feel bad about it but began to do something to prevent it.
She along with her husband started giving free hygiene kits to girls in their neighbourhood.
The hygiene kits consist of a pack of sanitary napkins, a pair of undergarments, a soap and four shampoo sachets. They began with just Rs 25,000 of their savings without any government support or other aids. While they helped four girls in the beginning, now they help about 2000 girls. She also makes sure that she gives it in person to everybody, which shows her passion and dedication towards the cause.
The hygiene kits are given to women residing in slum areas and school girls of Municipal Schools. The aim is to ensure every woman has basic necessities to lead a hygienic life. ‘I am 62 and I can work for 10 more years. I appeal to the people of India to come forward and start with something like this. Start by helping 5 girls and then slowly and gradually increase the number. The problem is not something new, but it needs to be addressed’, says Meena to NDTV.
There is a lot of talking but less walking the talk.
It’s true that all of us have known about such problems now. We definitely know of workers whose daughters have no access to safe menstruation. We know the data of the percentage of women who have no access to sanitary pads. Maybe we do post a picture or a write a word as a part of a challenge but wouldn’t do anything in practice to solve the problem.
This initiative by Meena and her husband had led HDFC Bank to fund them with eight lakh rupees. The couple used the fund to start ‘Manuni Foundation’ in 2017. They have all started accepting donations.
Donating for such causes is noble and doing such acts don’t take much time or resource. Imagine just helping one girl with her hygiene. If all of us did the same, every girl in India would have a hygienic menstruation. One kit costs around Rs. 60. It is something that privileged people like us could help other women with. Recently, Cricketer Raina’s wife was also involved in giving away free sanitary napkins to women. Many have started taking actions and it’s time all of us do too.