Actress Kareena Kapoor, today congratulated a group of adolescent girls for their work in promoting improved menstrual hygiene in Uttar Pradesh.
Calling them "champions of change", Kareena, who is UNICEF's Goodwill Advocate, interacted and spent time with the adolescents, who hail from rural areas of the state.
The young girls are a part of 'Garima', a UNICEF-spearheaded project, which addresses and strengthens menstrual hygiene management in UP.
Supported by the IKEA Foundation, the project in three eastern UP districts -- Jaunpur, Mirzapur and Sonebhadra -- has demonstrated behavioural change and increased awareness and self-confidence among adolescent girls.
The project aims at piloting a social and behavioural change and communication strategy for menstrual health and hygiene management among rural adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years who have experienced or are about to experience menarche.
Impressed by their work, Kareena said, "All the girls I met today are brave and empowered adolescents. They are champions of change and without their contributions we can't break the silence around gender equality and the rights of girls and women."
MP from Kannauj Dimple Yadav said, "Today is a very special day, because we are talking about menstrual hygiene, publicly for the first time. Mother-daughter bonds are very strong and we talk about so many issues but often not about menstruation. We as mothers do not teach our daughters often as they might get scared. We need to talk about this issue and no longer should it be considered as a social taboo."
After meeting the girls, Kareena attended a felicitation event along with government officials, UNICEF and its partners.
"Given the social and cultural taboos around menstruation, addressing it is crucial towards impacting the well-being and empowerment of adolescent girls and also to reduce school drop-out among them," said chief of the UNICEF office, UP Niloufar Pourzand.