Sulochana Pedneker brought massive change in the lives of Village girls in Goa during their periods
In urban areas women generally do not face many problems during menstrual taboos, it is the reason because, in urban places, girls don’t use cloth for protection, there is lot advanced process that these girls go through, similarly, they can maintain a very strict hygiene.
But on the other side, in rural places girls do not get such facilities due to the financial crisis, so they use same old cloth each month, which is tremendously effective for their health and hygiene.
Making health a prime factor, it is equally essential to look after such issue. Yes, there are still a lot of girls who could not even afford fresh cloth every month and had to use same cloth.
Sulochana Pednekar was in a remote village named Siolim in Goa. She was brought up by a single mother and her mother used to work in a bakery to look after the family. Sulochana tried her level best to help her poor mother in every possible way, she always stood beside her mother in every step. While finances were met by her mother, she lived in a joint family. Sulochana faced much hardship that made her self-reliant, however that sense of freedom was lost once she hit puberty.
“I was not allowed to touch any utensils, and hence was always dependent on someone even for a glass of water, if I was thirsty in the middle of the night, I had to wake someone up to get me water, ” says Sulochana.
The girl explains how exactly she felt like untouchable, especially when she was asked to sit and sleep separately.
“It was terrible. Though my mother would allow me to bathe secretly, my grandmother always kept an eye on us to ensure we follow traditions.” She says.
Sulochana found out that this was the story of each girl in the village, she considers herself lucky to get a space where she could dry her cloth pads in the open, because there are many who dry the pads in the dark, leading to infection and diseases for not drying the cloth properly.
Each and every girl was going through such problems but none opened their mouth. It was such a pain for the girls!
Times were really disheartened. She would receive Rs.60 as a scholarship to cover book expenses which was much less. Sulochana was a brilliant girl, who wanted higher education, but her luck favored when foreign delegates came to visit her family, they were impressed with her English and offered her scholarship.
Sulochana studied economics and in college was introduced to sanitary napkins which felt like a life saver, still, she was not that happy with the way the napkins were disposed of which prompted her to research organic sanitary pads.
After graduation, she started working with an NGO called “Sangath” in Goa, which dealt with women issues, especially women mental health.
Sulochana started a drive called ‘paid for period’ where she goes to school in remote areas of Goa and holds menstrual awareness campaigns, this really brought about many changes among the girls in the village.
Today, Sulochana is a community correspondent at Video Volunteers, which equips marginalized Indian people with skills in video and advocacy, helping them to expose under reported stories from their community.
Sulochana who works as an assistant lecturer in Goa University is getting Ph.D. in Education, Gender sanitation and public policy in India. She was awarded the Zilla Mahila Samman 2014 for North Goa district from Ministry of women and child development.
We feel proud for such women, who can be so active and so dedicated to her work that really made development.