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Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar – Breaking Menstrual Taboos in Jammu & Kashmir

Even in the 21st century, there has not been any prominent change in people’s attitudes towards menstruation. People don’t wish to talk about it openly because they believe it’s not socially accepted.

Since the olden times, women are exposed to various ill measures when dealing with their menstrual cycle. There are many women in the far-flung areas who still use dry leaves, rags or other unclean materials that could pose a threat to their lives. Unfortunately, these sorts of cases are not only found in the rural areas but in urban places too.

Yet things are starting to change. Meet Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar, a postgraduate from Government Medical College, Srinagar; who has made it her mission to break the taboo surrounding menstruation and empower women.

While practicing her profession she came across an alarming issue. She observed that most of the adolescent girls used ragged and used cloth instead of sanitary napkins during their periods.

She said that in the last one year, she has identified many young adolescent girls who suffered from different menstrual-related ailments and most of them were affected by Reproductive Tract Infection due to the usage of worn-out cloth.

Dr. Aaqfeen, being true and loyal to her profession, wanted to help them out. So she started her initiative by conducting a survey where she could track the cause for this issue. She conducted one-on-one interviews and asked for their personal reasons for not using the sanitary napkins. Later she arrived at the two main reasons why they pulled themselves back from using pads and that was: lack of awareness and economic conditions. Besides, it was the misleading information imparted by their own mothers that prevented them from maintaining menstrual hygiene. They were told by their mothers that sanitary napkins would lead to infertility.

After knowing the ground reality, Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar made it her mission to change the mindset of people. So she started off a crowdfunding campaign titled “Panen Fiker” which means “to take care of ourselves”. “It is a project in social marketing to enhance the use of sanitary pads amongst the adolescent girls.” she said.

Her next step was to provide the sanitary pads at a subsidized value (to curb the economic factor). But she was uncertain whether her campaign would work or not because of the social taboo that prevailed.

However, when the campaign started; she gained a positive response from the girls after using the sanitary pads.

“I could have provided these sanitary pads free of cost but I preferred giving them on subsidized rates,” Aaqfeen said. “I decided to counsel them that these pads would be provided to them on cheaper rates. It clicked. ”

Now the campaign is gaining momentum and is gaining much support from the society. But there is one more question that haunts Dr. Aafqeen. If this is the condition of the girls who are living in the cities of Kashmir, what would be the plight of the girls who are living in the far flung areas of Kashmir?

So in order to extend a helping hand, she is planning to launch a website and ask people to contribute to help out the girls in the remote areas of Kashmir. She would also visit these remote locations to spread awareness there. So let’s hope for the best and keep our fingers crossed that her NGO could bring about a meaningful change in the lives of young girls facing this stigma.

Dr. Aaqfeen Nisar is truly an inspiration for women. In the 21st century, where menstruation is still not openly talked about, she came out like a savior lending a helping hand for many young girls in Jammu And Kashmir.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

The road to success are challenging undoubtedly are challenging but the victory made it worthy of one. Nahida Manzoor made our state proud by becoming first Kashmiri Woman to successfully summit the World’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

She is a 23 year old residing in the Zeewan area on the outskirts.
Her father Manzoor Ahmad Pampori is a mutton seller and mother is a housewife. She has two more sisters. She was always passionate about mountains, since her childhood. Nahida along with her group had left from Everest Base camp for the summit and she made the successful summit of the peak.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

Nahida completed her mountaineering courses from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering which includes the Basic Mountaineering Course and the Advance Mountaineering Course. She also did a Special Mountaineering Course and a Method of Instructions course from the institute.
She collaborated with Transcend Adventures company for her maiden attempt to scale Mount Everest made the news about Nahida’s successful summit public.

“The Fourth summit of the day is Nahida Manzoor along with her Sherpa Guide Nima Kancha. Nahida hails from the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The 26-year old lady has been passionate about the snow peaks and took to the mountains at a very young age,” Transcend Adventures posted on their official Facebook page.

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

She started crowdfunding for her summit and she got massive response from the sponsors, once this news was carried by TCI Max group and Greater Kashmir. TAs the news went viral Deputy Commissioner Srinagar also sponsored part of her expenses to promote sports persons from Jammu and Kashmir.

To support her many people came forward including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir. She tweeted “Kashmiris too have dreams & aspirations like everyone else. Somewhere between stereotyping & demonising them, human stories are lost. All of twenty three, Nahida Manzoor is the first Kashmiri woman to scale Mt Everest. More power to her & the youth of J&K.”

Nahida Manzoor- First Kashmiri Woman to summit Mount Everest

National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah who is National Conference leader and former chief minister also congratulated Nahida and two other Jammu and Kashmir police officers for summiting Everest.

“It’s a proud moment for our state and its people. I congratulate the trio who have successfully scaled the world’s highest peak. Moreover, the team also comprised of a girl. I congratulate her, and I believe that her achievement has the ability to transform a generation, as will do her male counterparts. They truly are an inspiration for others,” Omar said in a statement.

We hope just like Nahida Manzoor, youth of Kashmir will keep conquering their dreams and never ever give up on their goal. Till then we’ll keep bringing you inspirational stories like this.