Vedanta BALCO’s Project Nayi Kiran takes strong strides towards women’s health

On Menstrual Hygiene Day, it helped raise awareness among communities on menstrual health

Balconagar; 5th June 2023: Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO), India’s iconic aluminium producer and a subsidiary of Vedanta Aluminium, recently united several healthcare and service providers in signing a pledge on the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day, advocating for normalized conversations about menstruation, and promoting menstrual health and hygiene. With this, the company has embarked on a new initiative as part of its Project Nayi Kiran, which focuses on enhancing the menstrual health and wellbeing of young girls, women, and their extended communities. It also organized an array of wellness and awareness activities on the occasion, reaching out to over 1100 individuals across 20 locations in Korba district.

Highlighting the impact of the program, Mr. Rajesh Kumar, CEO and Director, BALCO, “At BALCO, we are committed to working towards a world where gender is no longer a barrier to education, health, or opportunity, and where every person can maintain their sense of identity and self with complete dignity and respect. Our initiatives therefore aim at creating an equitable and inclusive society where conversations around menstruation are normalized, and individuals can access the resources and support that is their right, without fear of facing stigma or discrimination.”
Under the ambit of its Nayi Kiran project, the company undertook a series of menstrual health awareness initiatives on the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Safe Spaces Campaign/ Pledge for Safe Menstruation: Partnering with the Sarthak Jan Vikas Sansthan, a renowned NGO focused on Health & Education interventions, BALCO organized a week-long awareness campaign. The initiative encouraged employees, healthcare workers, and service providers to sign pledge letters, demonstrating their commitment to bringing about positive change in attitudes, actions, and environments around menstruation. Over 50 pledge letters were signed during the campaign, representing a commitment to creating inclusive environments, educating others, ensuring access to healthcare products, and shattering the stigmas surrounding menstruation. Those undertaking the pledge also welcomed the placement of awareness posters in shops, clinics, and other public spaces, lending greater visibility to this need.
Maa Beti-Saas Bahu Samelan: The company put together a human version of the popular ‘Snake and Ladder’ boardgame, gamifying the conversation on menstruation. As part of this initiative, female family members enthusiastically engaged in open discussions on their health, while myths and facts spread throughout the game aided or prevented their progress.
Menstruation Bracelets/ Red Dot Campaign: The adolescent girls in the communities crafted bracelets with 28 beads, symbolizing the menstrual cycle, including red beads to represent bleeding days. The girls also painted red dots on their palms, embracing the open discussion of the subject of menstruation.
Ratri Chaupal: The company also offered a unique experience through the captivating Ratri Chaupal, wherein the communities were shown educational movies specially curated to raise awareness and promote understanding of menstruation. BALCO’s movie, ‘Sarika- Dondro Ki Nayi Kiran’, documenting the story of local champion Sarika and her inspirational campaign on menstrual rights, was also screened, helping give communities better insights on the topic. The film can be viewed on this link:
Expert-led sessions: The company concluded Ratri Chaupals with insightful sessions led by Mr. Om Prakash Gayari, a prominent social worker and permanent member of the National Menstrual Health Alliance. He shared his personal experiences, insights, and his relentless efforts to promote menstrual health and hygiene that enriched these sessions. He was also invited for an exclusive session with BALCO employees, as part of its ‘BALCO Talks’ series.
Wall Paintings/ MHM Rallies/ Expert Talks: Community members actively participated in events like the Menstrual Health Management Rally and adorning their walls with vibrant paintings that powerfully conveyed positive messages about menstruation, showcasing their unwavering support for the campaign’s cause. Expert sessions led by gynecologists too were organized in collaboration with the District Health Department, helping rural women receive comprehensive information on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
Project Nayi Kiran was initiated in 2019 in partnership with Sarthak Jan Vikas Sansthan (SJVS), which aims at demystifying menstrual myths and taboos, developing sustainable hygiene practices during menstruation, and raising awareness about product choices through Menstrual Health Management (MHM) capacity building to ensure safe reproductive health. To date, it has helped sensitize 48,000+ people through awareness generation and capacity-building activities in 45 villages of Korba, spreading its impact to Korba, Podi Uproda, Kartala, Pali, and Katghora in Chhattisgarh. It has capacitated over 600 community members ranging from adolescent boys & girls, SHG women, and frontline workers (Anganwadi & ASHA workers) on Menstrual Health Management as master trainers and torchbearers of change in the community.

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