We are definitely moving forward in our journey of reaching to the village. We are close but have not taken too big of a stride. In the past two days, we have built the questionnaire and contacted various companies with regards to learning more about the menstrual cup market.
In coming up with the questions, we have to keep various things in mind. For this, we made four categories about which we want to ask – knowledge level, willingness to change, awareness about menstrual hygiene products, and accessibility and purchasing power. All these four categories will provide us with enough information to learn about how we should intervene in that particular village. These are also the questions we plan to answer once we would educate the women about. Some of the questions are very broad about gender inequality, while others are extremely specific about menstruation. We are listing the questions below.
- Do you know why menstrual cycles take place?
- Touching food in the kitchen during your periods makes it impure?
- You have your period because you are cursed
- Menstrual blood is dirty
- You should not go to the puja room during your period
- Exercising is bad during your menstrual cycle
- You should not openly talk about menstruation to men
Willingness to change
- Men should not be compared to women because they have different bodies
- The only motive of women’s lives is to get married and have children
- During periods, a woman should carry out her daily routine
Awareness about products
- Using clothes/rags is the best method for managing menstruation
- Do you know about sanitary napkins?
- Is there a medical store near your house?
- Do you have a mobile phone?
- Does this phone cost more than Rs. 2000
- Do you know what Amazon is?
We are also at the stage to approach various companies and ask them about to get an order in bulk. We got in touch with Silky cup, Vcup and Sirona, out of which Sirona seems to be the best one and will sell for about Rs. 300 each. The price is yet to be finalised/confirmed. In our conversation with Vcup, which is based in Kerala, we found that numerous NGOs there are working on a similar problem. We will get in touch with them tomorrow to find out what is it that they are interested in and how are they approaching the various problems.
Another thing on the agenda tomorrow is to get in touch with Dr. Archana Awasthi, who is a gynaecologist and is interested in similar social projects.
Another thing we have done is created an information manual for someone who is interested in trying the menstrual cup. This is shown below.
About the menstrual cup
What is a menstrual cup?
-A menstrual cup is a menstruation management technique which collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it, like with pads and tampons. The menstrual cup is made from medical-grade silicone which is long-lasting and hypoallergenic. Menstrual cups, like tampons, are placed inside the vagina during one’s menstrual cycle to collect period blood.
How do menstrual cups compare to pads?
-Menstrual cups are reusable for up to 10 years, unlike disposable pads.
Some important things to know before you try the menstrual cup:
-You may not be able to insert it the first time.
-Water and or water-based lubricant can help in the process of insertion (not oil as these can damage the cup)
-There are several different types of sizes of menstrual cups depending on the height of one’s cervix, the amount of blood flow, as well as if one has given birth or is above the age of 30. (A woman over the age of 30, with a heavier flow and or who has given birth is recommended to use a medium or larger sized menstrual cup).
Here are videos of different users and brands which demonstrate how the menstrual cup is sterilized and how it can be inserted and removed as well as their experiences:
- (English) Organicup: insertion and care
- (English) Precious star pads: insertion tips; different fold types
- (English) Indian blogger: Delhifashionblogger- Sannap
Boil first, insertion techniques, **does talk about how it could break your hymen, you will have to reach inside your body, careful not to drop it into the toilet, no worries about planning to bring pads/tampons
- (In Hindi) Hygiene and You channel: short overview
- (English) Hygeine and you
Insertion and removal techniques with vagina model, information on different heights of cervix- need for different sizes of cups. Important to relax to remove the cup- with tension, harder and harder to remove.
How can I get a menstrual cup?
-Online there are many brands such as the DivaCup, Organicup, Silky Cup, Lunnette cup, SheCup, Rustic Art menstrual cup (prices vary). Please check online.
-There may be a brand sold in a medical store near you.