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Braille Book On Menstrual Hygiene: First-ever initiative for the visually impaired in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: Running her fingers over the first-ever Braille Book on Menstrual Hygiene, 26-year-old Linalata Sahu, read aloud the ways to tackle period cramps. “This will definitely help me because most often, people aren’t able to explain everything related to menstruation,” said this visually impaired student from Odisha. 

She, however, never faced any obstacle in life because of her supportive parents. “From my first period to now, my mother has always helped me with everything,” she added. She believes, the Braille Book will be of great help to girls like her.

The book launched today by Practical Action under its programme, Sunolo Sakhi, will be distributed among 2,500 young girls in the state. “We realized that distributing pads will not help educate them on menstruation. Hence, we started working on this in 2016 and started off with women in slums with Sakhi clubs,” said Birupakshya Dixit, India head of Practical Action. Radios were distributed to these women so their queries could be addressed live on air.

They had also produced Audio book for the visually-challenged young girls and video books in sign language for hearing and speech impaired. These books and videos were prepared and distributed by We for You, a youth-run social venture in Bhubaneswar.

“These girls learn real quick and I believe, they are just as careful about hygiene as anyone of us. Teaching them has never been a difficult task,” said Pragyan Paramita, who is a teacher’s trainer as well as a teacher for visually/speech/hearing impaired.

The book also aims at eradicating traditional practices that restrict women from going out or doing work during the moon cycle. Birupakshya hopes the books reach a lot more people and the initiative later replicated by the government.