In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has set up a menstrual room within the women’s community toilet at Lokmanya Nagar. This decision was taken soon after a survey by Thane-based youth organisation Muse Foundation revealed that more than 67% of women do not have access to toilets in their houses in Thane’s slums.
Manish Joshi, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “The survey revealed the heavy dependency of women in slums on the community toilet, and the problems they faced to manage menstruation due to lack of water, unsafe changing rooms and absence of proper sanitary disposal. The menstrual room that we have set up provides water supply via a jet spray and dustbin with foot pedal to lift the lid to avoid touching the soiled sanitary napkins. Additionally, there are soap dispensers, hooks to hang clothes and a toilet for convenience.”
The corporation claimed that this is a pilot project, and depending on the response, it will be replicated in other community toilets.
Muse Foundation’s survey highlighted that around 56% of girl school students had to come back home to change their menstrual hygiene products as they had unclean toilets at the institutions. Around 18% of women who work did not have any provision to change their hygiene products at their workplace. The foundation prepared a list of recommendations and submitted them to the TMC in October.
Nishant Bangera, founder, MUSE Foundation, said, “We will be conducting a sensitisation programme in the community, to educate women about the room and safe menstrual hygiene practices. The wall of the community toilet has been colourfully painted to invoke joy in people, thus promoting sanitation. The wall also promotes sustainable menstruation with essential points listed on it.”
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