Menstruation has always been surrounded by superstition and myths that exclude girls and women from many aspects of socio-cultural life. In India, the mere mention of the topic makes most people uncomfortable. Even to this date the cultural and social influences appear to be a hurdle for advancement of knowledge on the subject. Especially school girls face a difficult task of coming to terms with biological and physical changes to their bodies. This added to lack of knowledge compounds the issue, leading to absence from schools and missing out on sports during periods.
In light of these challenges, WASH United and Slum Soccer are in the process of developing and testing a Menstrual Hygiene Management education guide for India based on its game- and sports-based methodology that is low-cost and easy-to-use, and allows various organisations in India to provide MHM education to girls aged 10-17. The MHM education guide will teach girls what menstruation is, how to manage it hygienically, and how to address taboos and stigmas regarding menstruation, using games and positive messaging.
Local festival with the support of Generation Amazing
In May 2018, Slum Soccer conducted the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day Festival to bring together participants and their mothers with the objective of having an open dialogue and to remove hesitation about period talk. This 3-day festival included a poster competition, an advocacy day and a football tournament named the “MHM Cup 2018”.
The theme for the poster competition was #NoMoreLimits. The girls were asked to create a poster depicting an activity that they would undertake if there were no limits.
A gynecologist collectively addressed mothers and daughters to educate them about menstrual health.
“I go to school without any fear (during my period) and speak to my friends about it. I also sleep in the same room as my family members.”* (Original quote in Hindi: “Mai roj bina dare school jati hu, mai apne doston ke sath is bare me bat karti hu or gharvalonke sath soti bhi hu”)
As a final activity, a football tournament took place at Slum Soccer Academy Bokhara Nagpur. The tournament brought together more than 150 girls from various areas of Nagpur and surroundings as both participants and spectators. Twelve teams competed for the cup, with Nagpur and Hinghanghat making their way to the final. Nagpur emerged as a winner in the tournament.
The event was part of Generation Amazing, the football-focused corporate social development programme of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar’s delivery and legacy authority for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. The programme, which involves Slum Soccer as a local partner, empowers young leaders to create positive change in their communities using the power of football.