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Devi

Street Outreach • India • 2021
“Devi was a self-conscious and introverted child but her involvement in sports and various activities has transformed her personality, she has become an extrovert and shows us that she is fearless. She likes to play local games like kho-kho, seven tiles, and dog in the bone, she has even become the leader of the kho-kho team.” Shriya, Assistant SURE Project Co-ordinator

Meet Devi

16-year-old Devi has grown up in the slums of Delhi. Her family moved to the area almost 20 years ago from a small town in search of employment. Devi lives with her family; both parents, grandparents and siblings, a total household of 12 all under one roof.

Devi’s father sells locks and her mother works as a domestic helper in multiple households. To support her family financially, Devi works alongside her mother.

Due to the family’s financial constraints, Devi has not been able to go to school and no so long ago she joined the SURE project organised by Toybox partner CHETNA.

“Devi was a self-conscious and introverted child but her involvement in sports and various activities has transformed her personality, she has become an extrovert and shows us that she is fearless. She likes to play local games like kho-kho, seven tiles, and dog in the bone, she has even become the leader of the kho-kho team.” Shriya, Assistant SURE Project Co-ordinator

outreach work with street children in delhi

Joining in with all the activities, Devi attended life skills sessions as part of the SURE project, learning about the myths and taboos associated with menstruation.

Due to the limited income of the family, their mother used to give Devi and her five younger sisters used and torn clothes to use during periods as protection.

Their mother would tell the children from her own life experience that this is how she has managed over the years, completely unaware of the potential health implications associated with menstrual health. The subject of periods considered to be taboo, means they are often not openly discussed and many children are not aware of a period until it arrives.

period protection for street children in india

Many times, in the rainy or winter season, Devi and her sisters have used light dry clothes for protection, which causes itching and irritation. Unfortunately, the family lacks the necessary funds to use clean cotton or sanitary napkins.

Through attending these life skills sessions with CHETNA, she came to understand the myths and truths around menstrual health and Devi found the courage to talk about the taboo subject of menstruation to those around her.

"Even if we are using clothes, it is extremely important to use clean and dry clothes otherwise there is the high risk of infection and disease to us." - Devi

Beginning by explaining what she had learned to her parents and siblings, Devi began to spread awareness about the importance and practicalities of menstrual hygiene amongst girls in her community.

period poverty and street children

At Toybox we believe that all women and girls should have access to sanitary protection, however we know that an inability to afford or to access these products is preventing many from going to school and going to work. Addressing period poverty for Toybox, is not just about the ability to access sanitary products but also providing education to street children and their families around menstrual hygiene and removing the stigma attached to the subject of periods.

You can support Toybox in distributing sanitary products to street children today.

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