16 June, 2006

Party for a good cause

The following article in NDTV(26th March 2006) created a spark in Premalatha Balan, our UK blogger.

A hostel in Madurai has been forcing students to maintain a public register of their menstrual cycle. This is to prevent premarital sex and to ensure that teenage girls do not go astray. The invasion of privacy has been taking place for years at the government hostel for poor and backward class students in Tamil Nadu's Madurai district. The register has columns for the exact dates of their cycle. Even slightly irregular dates invite snide remarks and harsh reprimands by the hostel warden. "Making them write down their menstrual cycle dates creates mental torture. They are not even able to tell their parents about these things. It is creating a lot of tension," said Jeeva, Regional Convenor, TN Child Rights Protection Network.Defending the outrageous measure, the hostel warden says it is the best way to keep the girls under check and prevent possible premarital sex."I've only been continuing what my predecessors started. I am doing it with students' interest at heart," said Selvarani, warden, Adi Dravidar Students Hostel.Sanitation woesThe girls revealed that the policing is done by the cook under the overall supervision of the warden. But while their records may be strictly monitored, their sanitation is not. The girls claim their hostel has just one bathroom but that is exclusively for the warden. The girls can enter it but only to clean it and not use it. Ironically the moral brigade is unconcerned about the fact that the girls have to bathe out in the open after dusk.

Premalatha Balan wanted to do something for these girls hostel. She spoke to me over phone about the hardships faced by these girls. I felt very bad for those young girls. We really wanted to do something. We also knew that our summer party was due. So Premalatha struck with the idea of meeting for a cause. We gathered at a country side near Hemel Hemstead. A small collection fee was charged for the party and thus we were able to raise a small amount for the cause. All the arrangements for the party were excellent. Though we met for few hours and had good fun, we went home with content that we could do something for someone on that day. Lots of bloggers had participated and had done a great help for the party. The familiar bloggers like Dubukku, Ammani ( She has run London marathon to raise fund for a charity), Dadoji, and few more were there. Premalatha had sought help from social minded film actress, and sent letters to the highest office of State.

Balan and blogger Dubukku were instrumental, in making good arrangements for the party. They had shown so much care and concern, to such a great extent, no fizzy drinks were available for the children to mess around and get hyper. Dubukku had taken such a herculean task of bringing the food for the entire party in his own car in order to save the delivery charge.

I do not have words for such people. There was a brief coverage by the local press. On reading the article, a generous English lady, has sent a small donation to Premalatha for the cause. I salute such people who could understand the sufferings of innocent girls in a corner of the world. I wish many more of us become more aware about such things happening back at home, and do something to give a good life for the people who are suffering. I know that there could be hundreds of hostels and schools like that, in many parts of the world. We have just started a small begining. We strongly believe that a seed can make the whole earth green.