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With the flow

  • Published at 05:55 pm June 17th, 2019
Astha Foundation_June 15, 2019_Pg 1
Photo: Courtesy

Astha destigmatizes menstruation

Have you ever wondered why many of us thought sanitary pads to be adult diapers while growing up? That’s because, menstruation has been considered a taboo topic in our society for generations. It is not an explicitly talked about subject which results inits misconception among people. To dismiss such bounded views, Astha Foundation was founded by Munia Islam and Rawnak Mahajabin Tasnia. It is an organization that aims at normalizing and promoting awareness about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, and PMS.  

Preceded by obsoleted ancestral perspectives, girls’ and women in today’s society yet feel embarrassed and uncomfortable to openly speak up as they experience period. Not only that, many men in our society are yet not clear about the concept of menstruation. Asserting the significance of being expressive about it, Munia Islam said,“Menstruation is a natural body process of the female sex. The adversity of agony that a woman goes through during their period is hard enough to express in words. Being unexpressive about menstruation not only causes women to suffer physical pain but also it strikes them a mental fear of being considered immoral by society. This is why; we came up with this initiative in order to diminish people’s uneasiness and misconception about menstruation and to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene.” 

The foundation started its journey in 2018 through its official Facebook page, “Astha Foundation”. To portray the magnitude of menstruation,the page publishes photos, sketches, paintings and video contents with an added flavour of humour. “We started out on social media, as in the present time it’s the best way to reach our targeted audience. The direst of a situation in this universe can be pacified and solved through humor, which is why we include humour in our content alongside promoting an embedded crucial message”, stated Munia.

From February 19 to 23 an event called 'LAL’ was organized by Jatra Bangladesh Limited. The event focused on raising awareness about Menstruation cycle through open discussions, music, dance, and art. “Astha Foundation” conducted workshops and displayed beautiful sketches in the event to spread awareness about period.  

Bringing such matter into light, Astha Foundation has managed to receive tremendous appreciations of people. Many people, who were ignorant about the seriousness of this issue, came into realization. However, there is a great section of people who responded to this endeavour through hate mails and threats. Nevertheless, the 'Astha team' has always responded to them in a calm and poised manner.

The future plans of the foundation include forming a “Period subscription box”. With the profit acquired from it, campaigns and workshops will be conducted at schools and various rural areas.

The founder further remarked that “People in our country, especially in the villages and rural areas, are still backward about dealing with menstruation and its hygienic importance. In spite of that, I am hopeful that one day the frank and active expression of menstruation cycle will become normal in our society; although this change might take a long time.”