aaina maintained the trend of celebrating Rajo festival this year as well by organizing two day program with adolescent girls and women of community on 12th & 13th June at "Dina Bandhu Girl's High School", Bhanjanagar. The celebration became a perfect platform to create awareness, and share myths & facts related to menstruation in a joyful and festive manner.
Authorities from health and education department were invited as guests and media were present to document the proceedings. The guests invited shared the significance of the festival and discussed menstruation as a positive process. Hygiene and health issues were also discussed in detail. To create festive environment, different stalls like pitha, bamboo materials, products from Amo Vidyalaya were put up. Games were organized so that girls know about the facts of menstruation in an entertaining way. Different competitions such as Pitha making, mehndi, puchi and bittle were organized where all the females participated passionately.
Present adolescent girls and women commented that many blind beliefs and social taboos have been discarded by them and even their parents after aaina started creating awareness on menstrual hygiene. "Now we are more conscious about hygiene and now our parents are supporting us. If aaina maintains such activities for long period then it will more effective for us."
Efforts of aaina were appreciated by the present guests and especially the way messages were conveyed and had its effect on participants. Participation of boys was encouraged by few of the guests as they believed they equally need to participate in the process for effective and complete change. Ms. Jyoshna Sahoo, aaina informed participants about "Odisha Gram Vani", and how girls can benefit from it by asking questions using their own cell phones and get it clarified. MHM materials including books and audio-visual materials were shown and discussed with the group.
The winners of the different competitions were distributed prizes by the guests.
The celebration was a successful effort of aaina to continue bringing and discussing vital issues of health, hygiene and sanitation among rural adolescent and school going girls.