Menstrual Hygiene and WASH
Protsahan works directly with communities and promotes awareness about menstruation and its related bodily changes in adolescent girls with safe and hygienic menstrual management practices and proper dietary practices; to break the silence and taboo that prevails around a common and natural bodily process. Young girls and women who can’t afford to buy or use any other safe and hygienic alternative are taught to make their own cotton pads. The aim of this initiative is not just the distribution/ making of clean cloth pads, but the journey the girls go through in the process, very importantly, opens up a dialogue to address healthy menstrual hygiene practices. In a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2015-2016, it was recorded that approximately 70% of girls across India had no knowledge of menstruation at the onset of menarche. With the help of Plan India, AC Nielsen conducted a study ‘Sanitary Protection: Every Woman’s Health Right’ in 2010 which claims that only 12% of the approximately 620 million women in India use sanitary napkins, 93% of women in rural areas are the majority non-users.
Bridging The Gap on Psychosocial Interventions for Children
Protsahan critically works on strengthening Mental Health support for under-resourced adolescent girls through creative art therapy, play & counseling services in the darkest slums and rural areas of the country. We have also worked on psychosocial interventions in disaster hit emergencies in partnership with Unicef and Childline 1098. These psychosocial interventions for children/ adolescent girls and boys are delivered in three ways: direct work with children and their communities, creating manuals and modules and training frontline workers and educators at scale with partners like NIMHANS, Sphere India, etc. During the migrant crisis of Covid-19, Protsahan trained over 3200 frontline workers handling cases of child abuse across the country.
Nutrition for Adolescent Girls
Protsahan partners with credible Food Banks and local kitchens to provide healthy hot meals or proteinaceous snacks to the adolescent girls and children coming to our centres. During the migrant crisis of Covid-19, Protsahan reached out with cooked food and dry ration food to over 4,00,000 people in marginalised communities struggling with basic survival needs and continues to reach adolescent girls in some of the poorest spaces with access to protein (soyabean, dals and eggs) to help them improve their health metrics. Stunted children who are too short for their age due to lack of nutrients, suffer irreversible damage to brain capacity.
Sexual & Reproductive Health for Adolescent Girls
Over 51% of Indian women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia — a serious condition that can have long term health impacts for mother and child, says the Global Nutrition Report.
Protsahan organizes local events in slums and villages with young girls and their mothers for counseling services, contraception, family planning, etc. In addition special care and protection is provided to young adolescents between 12-18 years of age. Protsahan uses cinema and art to create locally relevant communication material to build adequate knowledge and awareness and behavior change on these issues. Protsahan girls had conceptualised, directed and acted in a self-produced children’s film, called Fireflies, to spread awareness on how Child Marriage impacts the sexual and reproductive health for girls.