Sikkim is all set to launch vending machine to provide free sanitary pads in government schools. The Machine will be installed in 210 government school. Some reports shows that in government schools of Sikkim , there are 18,665 girls who are studying.
Generally the girls of government schools drop out because of their periods hence the prior aim of the machine installation is to curb the dropouts of girls.
The machine will be launched under the ‘Bahini’ scheme.
In collaboration with Sulabh International, the trial of this scheme was started in 2018. The vending machines were installed in few schools.
The chief secretary (education) of Sikkim said that girls in Sikkim may not drop out of schools due to menstruation, it is definitely a contributing factor. He said that the dropout rate of students in Sikkim, for both boys and girls, is similar to the national average, which is approximately 20% for both genders.
According to one survey, girls take leave from school for five to six days every month for their periods. And around 20% girls drop out of the schools as their menstrual cycle begins. And another reason of dropping out is lack of proper facilities in Toilets and hygiene is not maintained.
Before Sikkim, Kerela was the first state to launch vending machines.
Benefits of installing vending machines are many. Firstly, the students don’t have to suffer in need of pads, secondly, people who live in underprivileged area will get access to pad and thirdly, hygiene will be maintained because pads are generally disposable.
Rural areas girls uses clothes instead of pad which dont last as pads do. Clothes even cause bacterial infections. Pad can sometimes be worn for up to 12 hours straight.