Life Story

Life Story: Irfana Zargar, who provides free sanitary napkins to needy in Kashmir

Jammu: Irfana Zargar, a 28-year-old from Nowshera in Srinagar, built her ‘Eva Safety Door’ sanitary napkin kit for women availing themselves of public washrooms, by spending her life’s savings.

On the night of March 3, Zargar purchased items like underwear, hand washes, sanitary napkins, antispasmodic drugs and sanitisers. With the intention to make washrooms more friendly to menstruating women, she left these items in the form of a kit in female public washrooms around Srinagar city.

“When I was about to return home, people were already calling me and sending messages of appreciation. The quickness with which the news spread was unexpected,” she said.

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Zargar said her plan is now to cover all the public washrooms in Srinagar, and she is unlikely to rest until she is done. “I am doing this for women who will need such things in an emergency, especially women coming from the villages,” she said.

“Sometimes we don’t know and get our periods suddenly. This is an initiative that will make accessing sanitary napkins at a time when someone is in dire need easier,” she added.

It has long since been her dream to make key changes in society and people’s mindset. She believes that issues related to menstruation are still considered taboo in a society like Kashmir’s and that needs to change.

Zargar’s personal journey has been an uphill once. She was 21 years old when her father died due to a heart attack.

To support her family and assist her own education, she started working in the public grievance cell of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation. It was there that she grew determined to start an initiative for the ladies and bring awareness in society at very little cost.

“There is this stigma which must be tackled and for that it is necessary to create the awareness on a larger scale,” she said. Zargar also plans to launch a cab service for ladies which will serve them whenever they need transport, free of cost.

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She has done all this without any intention to get help from the government or an NGO, Zargar said.

#LifeStory​ is a project conceived and run by The Dispatch to re-introduce the story of the people of Jammu and Kashmir through individual achievements attained by way of institutional engagements. #LifeStory​ is conceived as an endless series focused at introducing people to each other, and to the world, through the stories of their achievements –the achievements for them as individuals, for their local communities, regions, Jammu and Kashmir and the country.


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