Irfana Zargar distributes free sanitary napkins, medicines, and hand sanitisers to public toilets at Lal Chowk in Srinagar
In India, above 77 percent of Indian women and girls resort to using a reused cloth when they menstruate due to a lack of options, and less than 18 percent of women in India use sanitary pads, which should remind us of the reality that there are many girls and women in our country who do not have access to such products to begin with. A report by NGO Dasra discloses that yearly, 23 million girls stop going to school as soon as they start menstruating.
A majority of young women either cannot afford sanitary products, don’t have access to safe toilet facilities, or shy away from using or buying products. A big reason for this is hegemonic misinformation and myths that surround menstruation.
Irfana Zargar, 34, took upon the responsibility of addressing this issue and has launched an initiative called Eva Safety to cater to such women in Srinagar. She has been assembling and distributing sanitary kits at public toilets with an aim to educate and enable women to maintain sanitary health.
These kits include sanitary napkins, antispasmodics, panties, hand sanitisers, and hand washes. Irfana places them in public toilets in her town of Nowshehra, and has managed to supplement five public toilets with these kits so far.
Irfana (right) distributing Eve Safety kits at public toilet in Lalchowk (Image: The Kashmir Walla) Irfana, employed in the private sector, has dedicated the initiative to her late father Ghulam Hassan Zargar.
“This is the best charity, according to me. I would welcome those who want to join in or contribute,”
She has invested a portion of her salary towards making the menstrual products accessible to poor women, and her aim is to continue doing so.
In the coming month, Irfana plans to supply 15 more public toilets with Eva Safety kits.
Inspired by the initiative, Shazia Mehraj, a doctor, has joined hands with Irfana. She wishes to support Eva Safety and commends Irfana for her efforts.
“Initially, I was reluctant to join her mission, but I couldn’t hold back because the initiative is very noble,” Mehraj told The Week.