‘Women’s Day’ — A day where women are celebrated.
I am an entrepreneur in women’s hygiene space, and I hold a USA patent for Period Panties which are washable, reusable, leak-proof, hygienic panties that prevent stains. A product that every woman could use on ‘those five days’. A product that is especially useful for young girls at school. So, we thought the best way to acknowledge Women’s Day would be to sponsor Period Panties from my brand Adira to girls from underprivileged backgrounds.
We started the Period Panty Give-Away last year (2017) for Women’s Day and that year we had a few young women from my team handle the event at a school. The event was a success, and it was amazing to see my team come back and talk about the whole event. They were charged up and on a high and energy they came back with was something I could feel. I wondered what it was all about and told myself that I would explore it for myself the next year.
Early 2018 March, we started planning the give-away. We found a school in which we could do the event. A few days before, we got the products packed and ready for the D-day. We had an internal meeting on how we would structure the event and what our message would be. Here, we had the opportunity to address girls aged between 12 and 16 years, and we decided that the event should be about ‘Dreams’ and not about ‘Taking’. We wanted Adira Period Panties to become an enabler, so they could go out and be the girl and woman they dreamed of being.
Come the day of the event, we were at the school and put on a stage with a sea of girls looking at us. A quick announcement was made about who we were and what the purpose of our visit was. I made sure I met a few eyes while I was standing to address them. Some looked at me in awe, some suspiciously, and most of them with pure boredom. I realised it was going to be fun. A lot of fun.
We started off by playing a fun video about puberty from my social initiative HowToTellYourChild.com. I asked the girls if I should translate the video in Kannada for them and most of them said that they already knew what the pink dragon in the video was trying to teach the girl. So, I started engaging in a conversation with them about puberty. I spoke about hair in funny places, breast development and period nonchalantly. The girls were both amused and shocked. The teachers there could not believe their ears.
The conversation steered into why we should not consider ourselves lesser versions of ourselves during our period. That we should not stop on those five days. That we should acknowledge and respect our bodies. That we should attempt at being ‘unlimited’, despite a few discomforts and how their period should not come in the way of their dreams. The conversation veered towards future. Their dreams of the future they see themselves in.
Having lived as long as I have, I have learnt cynicism and failure. I have started to burden my dreams that were so precious with the weight of experience. My dreams remain nothing but shackled wishes. But when a young girl with tattered shoes proudly announced that she wanted to be an IAS Officer, she killed cynicism. When one said that it was her auto-driver dad’s wish for her be a lawyer, she taught me that dreams are not shackled by means. And one aspired to be an air-hostess and went on to meet my colleague whose mom was an air-hostess to understand how to become one. She taught me that if there is a ray of light that guides you to your dream, grab it.
These young girls taught me the meaning of dreams while I had gone to teach them about it.
While these very effervescent girls shared their dreams, there was a shy girl I called out to share hers. She refused. I wonder if she was concerned that she might get jeered at or had her experiences taught her otherwise. My heart and prayers go out to this soul who is too young to stop dreaming.
This experience gave me something. The act of ‘giving’ became an act of ‘receiving’. It gave me the joy of dreaming unshackled. It also taught me to be thankful that I dare to dream.
A friend always says to me ‘Dream Well’. I will. I wish you all do, too.
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