Getting your period for the first time is an experience no woman can ever forget. It can be a pretty jarring moment, even for those of us who are prepared and know what’s going on. There are always these new emotions you start going through, your hormones are all over the place and it’s just generally not a fun time. But imagine how much more difficult this situation when gets when you live in a society that considers menstruation a huge taboo?
In these communities, no one talks about menstrual hygiene and girls are completely confined to their houses. It’s such a big taboo and there is a big lack of awareness, to the point where it completely disrupts a girl’s lifestyle. More than a million girls in Pakistan have had to miss out on school due to their periods. That means 1 in every 3 girls misses out on school when she’s on her period. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to stay at home and eventually drop out of school altogether.
Today, we have so many resources at our disposal that help us get through our period comfortable – resources we don’t even think twice about. Innovation has led to the invention of pads, tampons, menstrual cups and so many more sanitary products that are all aimed at making our lives easier. But imagine a world without any of that.
A recent study revealed that a majority of girls cut cotton pieces from their clothes to use as sanitary napkins. And they wash them and reuse them. Can you imagine washing a piece of cloth with the same frequency as changing a pad? It seems so archaic but it’s a reality for a lot of girls who don’t have any other options. It’s what has been done in their families for generations; they don’t know anything else but this.
But it is extremely unfair that women like us get to lead comfortable lives just because there are products that cater to us. Menstruation products are a necessity, like basic healthcare, and they should not be reserved for the privileged lot.
There is a silver lining of hope. Always Pakistan has been committed to making menstruation as comfortable as possible for a long time and this Independence Day they are making sure girls around the country are free from the shackles of menstruation. Their campaign, #AlwaysAzad, focused on ensuring that young girls get to be young girls and chase their dreams. Always pledged to donate a pack of pads against all the comments they received on social media.
The campaign blew up on social media, with prominent celebrities posting about the campaign on their social feeds. Last week the hashtag #AlwaysAzad was even trending on Twitter! It’s an amazing initiative that send light on a serious issue and brought many people together – all committed to making sure girls get the freedom they deserve.
There’s not always much we can do to help those around us but with this campaign, Always made helping other girls really easy. All one had to do is post a simple comment on a social media post. No one should be forced to give up their dreams and it is up to us to make sure we do our part in liberating and empowering girls all over Pakistan. Luckily, through this campaign, Always began a much-needed conversation.
Always Pakistan received an overwhelming 55,000 comments from this campaign and their team distributed packs of pads this Independence Day. The number of women who came forward and supported this cause is outstanding and we hope such initiatives continue in the future.
Thank you, Always, for making sure girls get the freedom they deserve!
You can watch their campaign video below: