A social worker travels 28 km to get sanitary pads for village girls in Rajasthan

Midnight SOS by teens made Renu travel 28 km on her scooty to get free sanitary napkins for the girls of Thob village in Jodhpur

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Jodhpur/Kolkata: Not all superheroes wear capes, some wear sarees and even ride a scooter. Meet 28-year-old Renu Gaur, Osian Tehsil in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, who rode 28 kilometres on her scooty to get sanitary pads for young girls of Thob village, who were unable to get napkins during the ongoing lockdown.

Most of the girls were school-goers who used to get a free supply of sanitary napkins through anganwadi workers. But in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus of the government shifted to mask, sanitizer and soap distribution, thereby, leaving the girls to resort to unhygienic methods to stay dry during menstruation.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Renu informed: “It was late in the night when one of the girls that I have been working with ‘Marriage No Child’s Play’ project of Save the Children called me, complaining of severe complications due to unavailability of sanitary pads. I was really disturbed after hearing their problem.”

A disturbed Renu, the very next morning contacted several anganwadi workers to check if they had stocks of sanitary napkins. “They all answered in the negative. I was really upset thinking about the 300 odd girls belonging to that village. I put on my mask, gloves and carried a pack of sanitizer and traveled to the village to make the girls sign an application addressed to the Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM).”

corona warriors sanitary pads lockdown
Renu Gaur giving sanitary napkin to a girl

Once the application was signed, Renu rushed to meet the SDM to alert him about the needs of these girls. However, in the wake of the pandemic, the meeting was not successful. “He refused to help us. I was disappointed. But I didn’t give up. I took my scooty and went to meet the community health centre (CHC) head of Osian village – Dr Vivek Jhajharia,” she said.

Undeterred by the lukewarm response she received Renu kept pursuing Dr Jhajharia till he gave in to her requests. Talking to eNewsroom, the doctor mentioned: “We all are busy with challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We had forgotten about the sanitary napkins waiting to be dispatched as the anganwadi workers have been given other tasks to perform. And here was a lady who was so determined to get hold of sanitary napkins for the girls. After discussion, we agreed to give her a carton full of sanitary napkins. But we couldn’t arrange for a vehicle. To which she volunteered to do the needful.”

Renu, on getting a confirmation, traveled about 28 kilometres to collect the pads from the CHC and then personally delivered them to the girls who had sought her help. “I was happy that I could do this much for these young girls. Their parents blessed me,” she added.

Encouraged by the result, Renu then approached other officials to get more sanitary pads distributed in villages falling under five panchayats of Osian tehsil. Seeing Renu’s enthusiasm, Dr Jhajharia is also planning to involve her in the distribution of iron and folic acid tablets along with sanitary pads in these villages.

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