Stories of Ananya

Rima Mandal, stories of Ananya
Image: WaterAid/ Rupantar/ Md Sahinoor Islam


Our Ananya leaders are spreading the right knowledge and good practices of menstrual hygiene management to their community, stepping towards creating a period-friendly world. They are determined to break the silence surrounding menstruation and empower girls to talk freely about it. 

But did their own journey start in a good way? 

Rima Mandal, a 17-year-old college student known for her academic excellence, lives in the remote village of Ramjannagar Union. Despite her achievements, her life was still affected by old superstitions and taboos. When Rima was 12 and in the fifth grade, she had her first period. Rima’s experience was traumatic. She was confined to a dark room for three days, and given meals without protein served on banana leaves so they could be disposed of immediately. She felt isolated and worried about missing school and exams, completely cut off from the outside world. 

Similarly, Rahima Begum, a 26-year-old woman from Munshiganj Union, got her first period at 12 while she was in the fifth grade. Both Rahima and her mother never used sanitary napkins because they could not afford them and did not know their benefits. They used the same old cloths all day and dried them in shady places to avoid being seen. Washing the cloths with saline water caused itching and burning. 

These are real-life experiences that nobody talks about. Rahima and Rima's journey, from their first period to becoming an advocate against taboos and stigma are just two examples from many, many such stories. 

To learn more about the journeys of these Ananya leaders, and what they have to say about their experiences,


Stories of Ananya