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SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT HYDERABAD, FEBRUARY 01, 2018 23:35 IST
Fighting stigma: Miss World pageants at the launch of Feminine Hygiene Awareness Campaign at HICC in the city on Thursday.
Launch Feminine Hygiene Awareness Campaign in city
A star-studded menstruation awareness campaign kicked off in the city on Thursday, with the Miss World-2017, Manushi Chhillar, along with Miss Worlds of Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe, the Caribbean and Americas, inaugurating the first segment of their world tour titled Feminine Hygiene Awareness Campaign. The event was organised in partnership with the Telangana government. The young beauty pageant winners are expected to take the campaign to each of their continents.
Speaking at the event in the presence of hundreds of students from various government and private schools and colleges in the city, Ms. Chhillar said, “Menstruation is our strength. Every girl should be given an opportunity to lead a healthy life. I am very proud that this global project is starting from my home country”.
The hygiene project is a flagship charity event of the Miss World platform. “When we raise money, it stays where it is supposed to stay. Every single penny goes to charity because every single penny counts,” said Julia Morley, CEO, Miss World. An audio-visual presentation was put together by the Telangana State Women’s Residential College, where students, through dance and drama, presented the plight of those trapped in dowry harassment, female infanticide and domestic violence.
The campaign is expected to raise funds from across the world to make sanitary pads available at a low cost, at select localities in India, where girls suffer from menstruation-related stigma. According to Ms. Chhillar, 23% of girls dropped out of schools when they started menstruating. Her project ‘Shakti’, which started a few months ago, provided sanitary pads in 20 villages. “At least 100 children who had dropped out of schools have either gone back or are about to go back because of the awareness drive by Shakti,” she said.
The current campaign aims at making the practice of menstrual hygiene a sustainable one. Pad manufacturing and disposal units, which also provide employment to local people, are expected to be set up in some villages, thanks to the feminine hygiene campaign, Ms. Chhillar said. Interacting with college students, the pageant winners shared their own menstrual hygiene tips.
“It is not just important to keep yourselves clean. You should try to keep the surroundings clean during menstrual cycle,” said Magline Jeurto, Miss World Africa.
Stephanie Del Valle, Miss World - 2016, Ha Eun Kim, Miss World Asia, Annie Dian Evans Miss World Oceania, Sephaine Jayne Hill, Miss World Europe, Solange Johnson Sinclair, Miss World Caribbean, Alma Andrea Meza Carmona, Miss World Americas also interacted with young students. “Youth is a spark which can light a lamp and also create a fire. Let us light lamps across the world,” Ms. Chhillar said, as she spoke to students.
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