Mangaluru, March 25, 2018: Two volunteers from Germany who are in Mangaluru for a project with an NGO have gone one step ahead and started a project called - “A period without shame – The Menstruation Cup Project”. Unlike many foreign countries, a large number of women in India hardly discuss menstruation problems even with their friends or relatives.
Since sanitary napkins are quite expensive, even to this day, a large number of women continue to use cloth. Fortunately, the Central government has introduced a novel scheme - Stree Swabhiman Initiative - wherein the government will provide eco-friendly menstrual pads to the women at a highly subsidised cost.
Speaking to media the two volunteers, Nanett Bahler and Paulina Falky, said that the project focuses, as it is written in the name, the menstruation cup.
“It is a reusable silicone cup which collects the menstruation blood directly inside the vagina and its size is comparable to a tampon,” said the volunteers.
They added that the flexible cup gets the correct shape with a special kind of folding and it could be inserted into the vagina, where it unfolds automatically and forms a vacuum with the vagina walls. The menstruation blood is caught in the opening.
At the latest, after 12 hours, the cup should be emptied. Therefore a round or long silicon mounting is fixed to the end of the cup.
The act of pulling out is simple to handle with this mounting. The menstrual blood should be poured into the toilet and the cup has to be washed out with water.
With the same folding technic, the menstruation cup could be moved inside again. The frequency of emptying depends on the intensity of the period.
But the majority of women and girls empty the cup two times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
After every menstruation cycle, the cup just has to be boiled for 5 minutes in water so that it is sterilized and can be stored safely inside a cotton bag till the next period.
Depending on the company, the cup could be used up to ten years, they added.
How it started : It all started when the women realised that there are quite a few problems in India like the problem of waste disposal (pads), lack of waste bins in public toilets, schools, workplaces, hotels, restaurants and others.
Stating that the cup is free of chemicals and it is antibacterial, the duo clarified that the use of the cup has no affection on the state of virginity. Moreover, the cup is obtainable in different sizes. Quite interestingly, both of them said that they even go for a swim in a swimsuit without any problems.
As a pilot project, the two volunteers distributed about 70 cups free of cost (each cost anywhere between Rs 350 and Rs 400) to women and also conducted workshops in known groups and also evaluated the almost positive results.
Benefits : “It is safe and comfortable and does not disturb my daily routine - especially during working hours and travelling time,” was one of the common reactions, Paulina said.
Many others said that it is portable and inexpensive and easy to handle, Nanett added.
As a step towards reaching more people, the volunteers approached Med Plus medical store in Bunts Hostel, who readily agreed to get the same from New Delhi to be distributed in Mangaluru.
Listing out its advantages, Nanett and Paulina said that besides the comfortable feeling during the menstruation period, the cups have a very low cost as well as less waste is generated because of its reusability.