Twenty-year old Rashmi’s story from Bhilwara district of Rajasthan is a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of education. Rashmi grew up surrounded by social and economic hardships. It was normal for her and her friends to miss school four or five days every month when they had their periods. This was primarily because her school did not have separate functional toilets for girls, and she did not have access to sanitary napkins. At home, she could manage her periods with cloth. For Rashmi and her friends, periods were always a hush-hush topic for her, and she could never imagine discussing it openly with her friends or even her parents.
After leaving school, Rashmi joined a Skill Development Centre in her district, where for the first time she attended a programme on Menstrual Health organised by through a project that aims at enabling access to skill training courses and economic opportunities for women. This programme empowered her with a wide range of information on her rights as a young woman and gave her the confidence to speak freely about her periods. She also learned the do’s and don’ts of menstrual health management. Rashmi mentions that this awareness changed the way she viewed her periods and wishes that she had this information earlier in life. Rashmi adds that she dreams of a world where every girl will have access to the same awareness as her.