13-year-old Dubai-based student provides sanitary napkins to girls in India

13-year-old Dubai-based student provides sanitary napkins to girls in India
Around 250 students from far-flung schools in Maharashtra, India, receive sanitary pads from Dubai-based Riva Tulpule.

Dubai - After completing her e-waste campaign, Riva felt the genuine need to run social campaigns that do well for society.



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Fri 7 Dec 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 9 Dec 2018, 12:02 AM

A 13-year-old Dubai-based student has inspired thousands of her peers in the UAE by travelling to remote areas in Maharashtra, India, and distributing sanitary napkins to young girls from tribal communities.
Riva Tulpule, a Grade 8 student of Gems Modern Academy, has distributed a year's supply of sanitary napkins to 250 girls from 10 different schools in Maharashtra. Inspired by the recently released Bollywood movie Padman, Riva began raising awareness and collecting funds from her friends and family for the cause.
An eco-warrior, Riva has previously worked on a campaign that raised 1.5 tonnes of recyclable electronic waste. "She worked with two companies - Enviroserve and Madinat Al Naqba - and donated the electronic items for recycling. The initiative was purely community-run. She spoke to our neighbours, people in her building and people on social media, and her request for commodities went viral," said Riva's mother Deepali Tulpule.
After completing her e-waste campaign, Riva felt the genuine need to run social campaigns that do well for society. "Ahead of Diwali this year, Riva saw the movie Padman and got inspired. She told me: 'Mumma, why don't we do this', and I was sceptical at first because it is still a very sensitive topic for a girl as young as her," added Deepali.
However, Riva studied the issue and found out that it takes only Dh20 to support one girl's menstrual hygiene needs for one year. "Riva made a video. It got about 6,000 views and she spoke about the issue to all the Diwali parties she attended. She was able to raise the money for her cause," she added.
Though the family had initially pledged a donation of Rs100,000 (approx. Dh 5,000), she was able to collect twice the amount. "She travelled to Mumbai with her dad and went to a taluk called Sahapur in Maharashtra, where the distribution took place. Riva was able to communicate easily with the girls as her mother tongue is Marathi and the family speaks the language at home," said Deepali.
Riva told Khaleej Times: "It was a very rewarding feeling to give the pads to the girls. They are as old as me, and they live without so many of the comforts we have. There are so many communities that don't even have proper toilets." While distributing the pads, Riva spoke to the students about basic hygiene tools, which the students were unaware about. "I told them that they needed to speak about menstrual hygiene openly in front of their parents and teachers. A lot of the girls didn't have the proper means of disposing of the pads," she added.
"I want the initiative to grow. I am planning on making the initiative bigger. Today, it reached 250 girls. I want it to grow bigger."
Nargish Khambatta, principal and CEO of Gems Modern Academy, said: "Riva is an exceptional student. Sensitive and solution-focused, she has taken on a number of initiatives that have been scaled up to create an impact. Her upbringing and innovation-focused educational opportunities have complemented her quest to take on meaningful projects."
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com
 


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