With an aim to improve attendance and academic performance of the girl students at VLB Janakiammal Girls High School, RAC Coimbatore CACIL, RID 3201, in association with the RC Coimbatore New Gen and Innerwheel Club Of Coimbatore East, installed a sanitary napkin vending machine worth ₹6,000.
Students from economically weak background study in this school. The vending machine was installed as an effort to encourage them to attend school regularly even during their periods, explains Mohammed Farhan, the club president.
The sanitary pads have been sourced from Bliss Natural, an organic napkin manufacturing startup based in Coimbatore. At the inauguration of the machine, students were taught how to use the facility and ways to safely and hygienically dispose off the napkins. This was followed by a menstrual hygiene awareness session for the students. In another initiative the club organised a mental health awareness programme for students studying in Classes 4–8. “We were shocked to learn that many of them have witnessed, if not experienced, domestic violence. It is important for us to talk about their mental health as children are exposed to violence in their homes. Some of them are also victims of physical abuse and are at serious risk of long-term physical and mental health problems. Children who witness violence between parents are at a greater risk of being violent in their future relationships,” says Farhan, adding that the club will work with experts who will “discreetly address individuals who need help.”
In association with the Perur Town Panchayat, Coimbatore, the club conducted a cleanliness drive followed by a hygiene and sanitation awareness programme for the conservancy workers.
Under Project Zakkath the club distributed food packets and slippers to beggars.
Club dues? No problem
The club president says that the membership dues to RI for this year is ₹11,480. ”We have so far collected ₹8,000. I am sure we will collect the balance amount soon.” For Rotaractors who find it difficult to pay ₹1,500 (annual membership) “we have split it into two instalments so that it becomes easier to pay. Some of our members also pitch in to pay for those who can’t. We don’t have problems with paying dues. It only makes things more organised for us.” The club has planned a big PR and fundraising event in February and plans to use the funds for “meaningful club projects.”