4 months in a year the women of Kandhamal district in Odisha work in paddy fields, while the rest of the year they seek out a living by making utensils out of Sal Tree leaves. Speaking with these women about their menstruation, during a Chuppi Todo Baithak (Break the Silence Meeting), we found that among the many menstrual taboos they face, the most hurting is being barred from working in the fields during their period. Talking about their health, lack of a nutritious diet emerged as a big challenge.. When we asked women to evolve their own solution to this and shared stories of how women in other parts of the country had created their own kitchen gardens, they too decided to build a kitchen garden using a nearby unused piece of land. In just a few days over 40 women converted 3-acres of land into their very own kitchen garden!!
With help from our team, they planted various local vegetables and fruit seeds. In just a few weeks time, they will have fresh vegetables to make their own food, ensuring better nutrition and some extra left to sell for extra income. With our ‘Not Just a Piece Of Cloth’ initiative our teams across India motivate and mobilize women, to not only speak up about their menstrual challenges but to also take some action to solve their health, hygiene and dignity issues. To know more and contribute to our work: www.goonj.org/njpc