It is very exciting for us to report the Blossom Buses have been running again since September 21 when schools began opening in a phased manner. By mid October the buses were full and carrying around 600 girls from classes 9 to 12 to attend physical school on a daily basis and for the first time since the lockdown in March 2020. We are ever grateful to our donors, Max India Foundation and those funding through Lotus Outreach International for their long-term partnerships and generous support.
During September we undertook a survey of Blossom Bus and village girls in Mewat of Haryana and Rajasthan areas with respect to access to sanitary pads as well as buying habits and prevalent attitudes amongst themselves and their community. We found 32 of 112 respondents are not using or getting access sanitary pads. 36 out of 43 respondents miss schoolduring their periods. Most of those not using pads use cloth and would use pads if readily available at reasonable cost.
We are now exploring opportunities to set up in-situ, DIY manufacturing units that will create income and employment as well as bring empowerment and dignity for the women and girls. We also found during the survey that most girls don’t attend school are also turning our efforts toward ensuring girl’s toilets in all secondary schools are properly designed to ensure they serve the sanitary needs of students so they can feel confident they can attend school in a dignified manner during the menstrual cycle.