Bhopal has become the first ever railway station in India to install a sanitary napkin machine on one of its platforms. This is being considered as a New Year gift to all the female passengers from the Railway Department. Now any female can buy two sanitary napkins by inserting a coin of Rs. 5 in the machine. Within in nine hours of installation, over 600 sanitary napkins were collected by the female commuters.
People from nearby slum areas also came forward to avail this facility. At first, only 500 napkins were provided by the machine monitoring firm. But when the machine ran out of the stock they had to refill it with another 500 pads immediately. The vending machine has been named as “Happy Nari” and it was installed at platform number 1 by Railway Women Welfare Association of Bhopal with the help of local NGO, Arushi.
Senior-most-class-four-worker, Arushi, inaugurated the machine on the day of New Year. The vending machine has a capacity to store 75 napkins at a time. It will be specially refilled by trained female staff attendant at the waiting room who has the key to operate it. The divisional railway manager of Bhopal, Shobhan Chaudhry said, “When the plan was chalked out to install the machines, we studied different areas of menstrual hygiene and were stunned to know the low awareness level particularly among the rural women. Young girls dropping out from schools as soon as they hit adolescence is another challenge India is facing”.
He believes that this step can break the taboo which is attached to menstrual hygiene for a very long time. He also assured to try to keep it well-maintained and motivate female passengers through advertisements to use this facility.
This initiative is for sure a significant measure taken to break the menstrual taboos and spread the awareness and sensitivity about menstrual hygiene.
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