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On the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Week, Vedanta Aluminium, India's largest producer of aluminium, undertook several grassroots initiatives in the vicinity of its operations aimed at boosting awareness of menstrual health and hygiene practices. They focused on addressing existing myths and taboos around menstruation, mitigating the incidence of period poverty, and empowering community members to make informed choices regarding their families' health and wellbeing.

Menstrual health and hygiene is an often-neglected topic in rural areas, where people continue to grapple with common misconceptions and a lack of open conversations around the subject. This has in turn led to challenges in accessing menstrual health products, causing increased incidence of health issues among women and young girls. In response, Vedanta Aluminium has deployed structured awareness and skill development programs to address this need.

The company's operations encompass the world's largest aluminium plant in Jharsuguda and a world-class alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, Odisha, in addition to mining operations within the state. It also includes BALCO, India's iconic aluminium producer based in Korba, Chhattisgarh. With operations based in predominantly rural and semi-rural parts of India, the company's comprehensive development efforts have emerged as key drivers of progress in their vicinity.

As part of its observance of Menstrual Hygiene Week, the company organised a series of awareness initiatives under the aegis of BALCO's menstrual health awareness project, Nayi Kiran. This included an infotainment evening dubbed Ratri Chaupal, which was organised in the local villages surrounding the plant. It featured several forms of media, from puppet theatre to social documentaries and film screenings related to women's health. In addition, employees from BALCO volunteered to join community members in stitching reusable pads as part of a capacity building program, which were later distributed among economically vulnerable women and adolescent girls.

This was backed by a Safe Spaces campaign, where the company partnered with local commercial establishments selling period products to raise awareness on menstrual health. By simply placing a themed sticker in a visible location within their commercial establishments, they subtly encouraged wider conversations around menstruation and facilitated easier access to period products. Over 1500 people benefitted from these and other awareness initiatives, each of which was positioned as an opportunity to facilitate open conversations around menstruation, seeking to break social barriers.


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