I’m Sara Asif lives in Taxila (Pakistan). Basically I’m a psychologist I did Bs (hons) in psychology and diploma in clinical psychology. Since 2016 I am working as an affiliate director of I Support the Girls Pakistan. I’m educating marginalized females about several thing like personal health how to use pads, how to discard them, what is good hand and bad hand, breast cancer and school girls should have panty and pads in their bags and have distributed more than 5,000 pads, 1,000 bras and 1,000 panties among the marginalized communities, schools and even in the school of blinds in 5 years to restore their dignity and respect.
Well further proceeding I want to share that I feel very proud of what I’m doing. In fact behind it I have my own story why I have started this work. When I got my first period, I did not have sanitary pads to bleed into so my mother made a cloth pad for me and after I used it my mother used to wash it and I reused it the next month and sometimes got infection also. I still remember one day I visited my aunt home and she gave me unhygienic cloth and I got infection. At that time I don’t have awareness regarding health and hygiene and no one was there for me to guide me and gave me awareness. If I talk about my bra I used one bra for 4 to 5 months and panties as well. One single statement can explain this all “Females has to choice between feeding herself and her personal health”.
That’s the reason I wanted to start this work in Pakistan. I cannot fix all the women problems but I can do something.
Need for pads and reusable pads are really very high. Women don’t have a choice of not having periods it is a natural thing and female has to face it in every month.
When I distribute pads, bras and panties I can see the bliss the happiness on their faces. I feel joy to give them these products because women don’t bother to buy these products for their personal use instead of spending the money on their household or food to survive so I want to become a hope for these women in every month I know their limitations, challenges they are facing as a female.
Women especially poor women who belong to lower or lower middle class are most of the time the most neglected and despite the fact that in the previous two decades many NGOs and government has taken notice of violence against women, one particular issue still remains unaddressed and that is the issue of health and hygiene. The women of lower middle class are so worried for their daily survival that they don’t consider the availability of clean undergarments and sanitary pads as their necessity.
So keeping this problem in my mind I started a vocational center that give women an opportunity to learn the skill of stitching bras and panties and reusable pads. The primary goal is the economic empowerment of these women who belong to the lower middle class as they will get the opportunity to sell their products which will lead to earning. Secondary benefit will be that these women will have clean and homemade undergarments for themselves and for their family female members which will improve their health and sanitation condition and will give them the sense of dignity. The want to establish this vocational center in the area of Taxila because no such institution exits in the area regardless of the fact that there is a huge population of women of lower middle class and I am the pioneer one who started this center where females can stitch their undergarments. The women will prepare these products with locally available resources.