Despite the awkwardness, orthodox mentality, and low esteem that comes with the word Menstruation in the Indian society, the girl from Jharkhand, Aditi Gupta, chose to not shy away at the thought of Menstruation but rose to shatter the various myths associated with the same and educate women about menstruation and menstrual health and hygiene with her unique initiative, and she called it Menstrupedia. Out of all the women in the world, Aditi rose to the cause and finally mustered up the state and courage to poke down the myths and along with that voice the importance and need of the education which revolves around Menstruation.
Aditi and her companion Tuhin Paul initiated the project of Menstrupedia as a thesis project while their educational endeavor at National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. Her motivation behind the same was her awareness that there was the absence of information and proper lookout about menstruation in Indian women and a lot of appalling myths as well.
According to Aditi, ‘We created a prototype where we explained menstruation through a comic medium using characters and stories and tested it with young girls. We received a very positive response. So, one inspiration was this that what we are doing at Menstrupedia has thorough yearlong research to back it. A comic was developed to test the medium. We took this comic into schools in Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, and Ranchi. We received a very positive response from girls, parents as well as teachers.
After working 3 years in the e-learning industry and having saved some money as an initial investment, we quit our jobs and started working full time on Menstrupedia from August 2013.
“One hardship that we initially faced was raising funds. The moment we’d say that we want to do something related to menstruation and creating an educational tool, people would tell me that there is absolutely no market or ask if we were an NGO. We had a hard time convincing investors that this is something that’s going to work. When we launched our crowdfunding campaign, we only had two months of run time to survive. We had to cut our monthly budget. We moved to a one-room flat to cut the costs and bring out the book. But on the other hand, we received an amazing response from people and our users loved what we were doing. It was kind of a litmus test for us but finally, we raised more than we wanted to raise.’’
Her struggle of turning the project into a bigger venture was, of course, full of hindrances with people pointing fingers at her for the wonderful thing she was doing which of course people were interpreting in a whole wrong way. However, that did not affect her at all. Her journey towards social welfare continued and she was able to bring the Menstrupedia Comics in 30 schools all over the country in almost 7 languages which was an accomplishment in itself.