Tamil Nadu-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Gramalaya has opened a ‘Menstrual Cafe” at Tiruchi in the state. Padma Shri awardee Damodaran, founder and CEO of Gramalaya, said that menstrual cafe has been launched to make sure that every woman and adolescent girl in the country has a happy and healthy period. Damodaran said that the cafe is the first of its kind in South India.
The cafe has been launched as a safe space for women and adolescent children to speak about their menstrual health and to clarify doubts. “We want every woman and adolescent girl in the country to have a healthy and safe menstrual period and to get any doubts regarding this cleared,” he said.
He said that several college going students and women approach Menstrual Health Educators (MHE) to clear their doubts.
Damodaran said, “During several such interactive sessions in colleges on menstrual health, many students approach our MHEs to clear their doubts on menstrual health and hygiene, and then we thought that we should open a cafe where women and adolescent girls can clear their doubts on the subject.”
He said that most of the girls get menstrual education from their mothers or friends and in many cases, these children are not properly aware of their menstrual health.
Damodaran, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2021 for yeoman service to the society through Gramalaya, said, “In most of the cases children are reluctant to discuss their genuine doubts on menstrual health with their mothers, friends, and their teachers and instead of getting this information from Google, they can feel free at the menstrual café’s which we are planning to open across the state.”
The Menstrual Cafe will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days except Sundays and the service is free. There will be two menstrual health educators who will help and guide the women and girls who visit the cafe with doubts about menstrual health and hygiene.
The NGO said that if some girl has any serious menstrual cycle or health issue, then they will be referred to a hospital by the MHEs.
Damodaran said that the cafe has educational material and resources on menstrual health and hygiene.
He said that he got the idea to open a menstrual cafe from the NGO ‘Sacchi Saheli’ which has opened such menstrual cafes in other parts of the country.