Pad Woman: This IRS officer helps lakhs of poor women amid pandemic

Pad Woman: This IRS officer helps lakhs of poor women amid pandemic
IRS officer Aman Preet handing a pack of free sanitary napkins to a poor woman amid pandemic

Aman Preet is daughter of a Ludhiana-based engineer-doctor couple

Her father, a retired PSPCL engineer, looks after her mission in Punjab

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, her maid living in a Noida slum shared with her that she was struggling to get sanitary pads. And that she is back to old ways of using a piece cloth triggered instant resolve in Aman Preet, a 2010-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, to reach out to the women with such needs across India.

Born and brought up in Ludhiana, Punjab, this COVID-19 warrior has, since then, provided free sanitary napkins to about 12.5 lakh women and girls of poor families in 17 states across the country. And her crusade is on.

Amid the pandemic when many social organizations, NGO’s and individuals stood up to help the needy and vulnerable sections of society with food, clothes, sanitisers, face masks etc. this officer, going beyond her call of duty, reached out to the women across the country to help them with their menstrual needs.

“Early on I realised that sanitary pads are as essential as food and masks because periods don’t stop during pandemic and lockdown,” she said when asked about her passion-driven nationwide Pad distribution campaign.

In the course of pursuing her mission so far, she has also created a vast network of Pad women and Pad men who have been lending a helping hand to her in nationwide distribution of lakhs of sanitary pads to the needy women since imposition of lockdown. They include her family, batchmates, friends, seniors and NGO’s.

Her team includes people from all walks of life be her driver, Noor who was with her distributing pads even during his Ramzan fasts, green group women of Uttar Pradesh, a Blogger from Prayagraaj, fisherwomen from Sundarbans (Bengal), a Hindi writer from Allahabad, Unani doctors of Punjab, homemakers of Surat, granthis of Gurdwaras of Sangrur (Punjab), an Urdu teacher from Jammu, a Para athlete from Pondicherry, a Judo Olympian from Meerut, Shooter grandma from Baghpat,  several college-going girls and boys across country who reach out to  her for help by any means.

Posted as a Joint Commissioner, Income Tax, Delhi, Aman Preet has also inspired many social organisations, Foundations, Trusts, civil servants, who have volunteered to create awareness on the topic, which is still considered a taboo by a large section of our society.

She has made men and women talk about importance of menstrual hygiene along with personal hygiene during COVID-19. Of the total about 12.5 lakh women she and her teams have reached to, even in the remotest areas of the country, almost 50 percent of them used pads for the first time, she shared.

Aman Preet personally handing sanitary napkin pack to a poor woman during distribution at Ludhiana

Her whole family including parents side has stood beside her while seeing her passion to reach out to the underprivileged sections. Her businessman husband Dikshit Passy has accompanied her in every distribution and has contributed monetarily for the purpose.

Her father Rachhpal Singh, a retired Engineer-in-Chief from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and her mother Dr. Neeru have taken the reins of her mission in Punjab. They have organised many camps in Punjab and distributed around 20,000 pads in Ludhiana alone. Her parents tell that now women from surrounding slums have started coming to their house for free supply of sanitary pads.

This Post Gradutae from Panjab University, Chandigarh, shared stories of stunning lack of awareness among people about these pads. People refused to distribute these saying,”yeh gandi cheez hum nahin baant sakte” (We can’t distribute this dirty thing). People even refused to accept ration if given along sanitary napkins. There were women who said they need permission from husbands and in-laws. Some women, accepting pads for their daughters, said piece of cloth is fine for their own use. These women shared how they were using the discarded clothes to stop the menstrual blood.

In Bengal, women shared that their every little thing was washed away by super cyclone Amphan and not even a single piece of dry cloth was there with them to use. Many poor girls shared they had no means to buy pads because their parents had lost livelihood as daily wagers.

Shutting down of schools and colleges has rendered availability of the period products inaccessible and most girls in various parts of country do not feel comfortable even talking to their mothers about periods. And existence of taboos related to periods makes impossible for them to even go out and buy themselves. In the situation, many of them have fallen back on age-old methods which have adversely affected their mental and physical health. These girls also used to bring supplies for the other women in their houses and for friends who aren’t studying.

In Punjab and Hyderabad, anganwadi workers were roped in to provide many such girls and women. Several shelter homes, prisons, women police stations, ashrams, observation homes, leprosy homes and homes for specially-abled women and girls have been sent supplies of sanitary napkins.

Recently introduced to one such social organisation Sangini Saheli by her Delhi-based fashion designer friend Priyal Bhardwaj, Aman Preet has joined hands with the world’s largest Covid Care facility in Delhi’s Chattarpur to supply sanitary pads to women patients there.

Now popularly known as “didi”, she receives messages from across India asking for the supply of pads. Such requests serve to strengthen her resolve to end Period Poverty and make the accessibility of menstrual products to the underprivileged women in a dignified way.

Salute to such officers who have gone beyond their call of duty to help the fellow citizens amid war against the pandemic. Aman Preet is one such inspiring COVID-19 warrior in her own unique way.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Well done Ms Aman Preet. Keep up the good work.
    Good hygiene translates immediately to good health.
    We need to promote positive well being….and not just treat disease after it strikes.
    Kudos

    Dr HS Bedi
    Director Cardiac Sciences
    Ivy Hospital
    Mohali

    • Well said ma’am ! Hope everyone understands this and come forward to initiate the conversation and eradicate the taboos associated with this hushed upon topic.
      Regards

  2. This is highly appreciable work. Only sensitive and humane persons with deep feelings for the society can put themselves in the service of the society in such difficult times. Hats off to her. God bless her.🌷

    • Thank u so much Sir , appreciation coming from the person who is the role model for millions across all ages means something big 🙂.. I am overwhelmed by your wishes and kind words sir ! Keep inspiring.

  3. Great intiative taken by Ms. Aman Preet. This is the biggest need of today’s India to talk about these kind of issues. India needs officers like her especially in unprecedented crisis like the ongoing one.

  4. That’s really an amazingly job done by you ma’am! Respect and proud! Wishing to have more such women in our society coming up openly on such important and normal life issues. All my good wishes coming your way!

  5. Ms. Aman Preet’s bold and highly inspiring campaign for sanitary napkins’ free distribution among women of poor strata of our society speaks volumes of her compassion and concerns for women health issues. Hope many other bureaucrats too remain grounded to the soil to serve the society in the manner and where it needs.
    Kudos to http://www.famepunjabi.in too for the coverage on mission of this crusader IRS officer.
    Brij Bhushan Goyal
    Coordinator, Alumni Association, SCD Government College for Boys, Ludhiana.

  6. Ms. Aman Preet, really a commendable job for such a natural cause. Actually there’s a need for such a work to help the poor young girls, who are still not able to discuss with their mothers and not even afford to purchase the napkins. It’s sure that God always send his Messenger to help the poor, so is Ms. Aman Preet. God bless you.

  7. Thank u so much for the encouragement! Means a lot 🙂. Hygiene menstrual products are still considered as luxury and the topic is still not openly discussed ! Breaking the taboos and opening up conversation is required . Thanks to William uncle And this platform for covering the cause so wonderfully.

  8. It’s good andamp; great initiative by Ms. Aman Preet for the health of poor ladies in prevailing corona-affected days….
    I salute to her..,
    God bless her and her team.

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