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Bihar Student Who Raised Sanitary Napkin Issue Gets Education and Napkin Sponsor

PATNA: Riya Kumari, the 20-year-old student from Bihar who was reprimanded by a Bihar bureaucrat for asking for free sanitary napkins, will not only get a one-year supply but also funding for her education.

On Friday, a Delhi-based feminine hygiene company said it would not only pay for Riya Kumari’s graduation – she is currently enrolled in a BA course at Ram Vilas Rai College, Hajipur in Vaishali – but will provide also her “always” sanitary napkins for the next one year.

During a workshop in Patna on September 27, Riya Kumari pointed out the need for the government to provide free sanitary pads to a senior Bihar IAS officer, Harjot Kaur Bhamra, and when she was snubbed by the civil servant, the freshman held her ground.

“Tomorrow you will ask the government for jeans and later for nice jeans. In the end, you will be asking the government for free family planning methods and condoms as well,” Bhamra retorted. The manager regretted her comments on Thursday after a barrage of criticism.

“We reward Riya for her audacity to raise in a public forum the issue of easy access to menstrual hygiene methods for poor girls and women living in slums,” said Hariom Tyagi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wet and Dry Personal Care, the company that manufactures sixteen sanitary napkins.

“Talking about menstrual hygiene is considered taboo in India, and Riya had the audacity to talk about it in a public forum. It will encourage a lot of girls to speak out on the issue,” he said. added.

“We have also decided to sponsor Riya’s education up to graduation level for the time being. If in the future she wants any further help or support and we feel this is an area where we can help improve her quality of life, we will,” Tyagi said.

Riya Kumari, who lost her father, a porter in 2020, said she was grateful for the gesture. Her older brother, Ghosu Paswan, works as a porter to support his six siblings and his housewife mother.

“The company announced that they will sponsor my education until I graduate and also provide me with free sanitary napkins for a year,” Riya said.

Reflecting on Tuesday’s event that sparked outrage at the bureaucrat’s conduct, Riya said: “It wasn’t a big ask that I made. I just said that the government should provide free sanitary napkins because as things stand the government gives a lot of things for free. The poor ragpickers in the shantytown where I live even find it difficult to spend 40 on sanitary napkins. They think adding another 20, they will gain two meals a day and they will sacrifice the sanitary napkin.

“I had a lot of other questions in mind, but I couldn’t ask them all… Madame’s answer was not in line with the program, which was intended for girls,” she added. .


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