Most of the girls of Thakurgaon Governmet Women’s College miss college when they have their periods. Every month they are absent from classes for 2-3 days. They have to leave the college if they have their period after reaching their, as there is no arrangement for pads in the college. They have to take leave and go home. They even face trouble going home in this situation.
Abu Bakar Siddique took over the responsibilities of college principal last year. Things like students missing college because of menstruation and not having expectant results because of this, worried him. As a solution, he started to distribute sanitary pads for free among the students. The system is very simple. If someone needs a pad, she has to take a token from the Chair of Philosophy Department Associate Professor Bebun Nahar. Then, she needs to collect the pad from Monowara from the common room using the token.
Principal of the Thakurgaon Government Women’s College, Abu bakar Siddique spoke further about the whole scenario: “I took over the responsibilities of the principal since September 28, 2017. Since then, I observed students coming to me for leave of absence. They tell me, they have gotten sick and have to leave the campus. Then I used to give them the leave of absence. But when it started happening daily, I discussed it with the teachers. I thought if I could help the students with free sanitary pads, they don’t have to go home during periods. It is even difficult to go to home during menstruation. So, I decided to offer free sanitary pads to students. An application for pad would be too time consuming. So, we decided to introduce the token system. This step has created a lot of buzz, and the girls don’t have to go to home now.”
Tithi Roy, A first year student of Economics was happy about this new step from her college. “We came to know about free pads from the notice board. This is a revolutionary step from our principal. We had to leave college to go home when we had our periods. We missed a lot of important classes. This system has to be introduced in all colleges, so that all the girls can attend classes during their periods.”
Principal Abu Bakar is focusing on making the toilets Menstruation Friendly as well. There are soaps, water supplies and basins in the toilets now. The Principal oversees the regular cleaning of the toilets as well.
Principal Abu Bakar plans to provide the 200 students of his college with free sanitary pads, as they are mostly from poor families. “If any NGO or organization can help us with 2400 packs of sanitary napkins a year, this initiative will be successful and sustainable” he said.