Do you remember the first time you bought a sanitary napkin, or were you aware of this phase and menstrual hygiene?
How many times have you had to hunt for a sanitary napkin? Do you consider it a luxury or a necessity? I am sure most of us will answer that it is a necessity and that we always stock it up in our bathroom cabinets and also carry one or two in our purse, bags and a spare or two is always tucked safely in case we need it in an emergency. Right!!
Most of us are aware of the menstrual hygiene and sanitary napkins. The various advertisements and knowledge of these ensure that the sanitary napkins are well stocked not only in the pharmacy, big stores but also in the local kirana shop. But the scenario is not the same in the rural areas. The percentage of women using sanitary napkins in rural India is as low as 2-3%, thus, creating a big void in the demand-supply chain. Since menstruation is still considered a taboo there the women lack the basic knowledge of proper menstrual hygiene. Hence these ladies land up using old rags and cloth.
A few years back, I had a full-time help with me since I was overwhelmed with work, post-pregnancy issues and baby. One day I went to the market with my maid. She was amazed to see dozens of sanitary napkin packets. I asked her as to why she was so amazed. Trust me that was the time I came to know about the real situation these ladies face. The way she narrated her episodes nauseated me to the core. Since that day onwards, till the time she was with me, I ensured she got appropriate hygiene and care. This also uplifted her self-confidence.
Last week, my mom sent me some messages. These were from a friend of hers. Her daughter who is studying in Enactus H.R. College is an active member of a college program called Project Inaayat. I went through the messages and did some research from my end. I was happy to see that the youth of our country are taking steps not only for the women but thinking about the environment also.
Project Inaayat is a project for the women. It aims at the upliftment of women in the rural areas. It educates them about the menstrual hygiene and use of sanitary towels instead of rags, cloth and sand. However, the crux of the project is that it provides reusable, recyclable and eco-friendly menstrual hygiene kits made from certified and quality-checked cloth. The kit consists of 2 shields, 8 liners, 2 soaps, a menstrual chart and guidance chart approved by a gynaecologist. All this comes in a beautifully designed pouch. Each kit priced at Rs 320/- can be used for two years after which a new kit has to be bought. These kits are stitched by the women in rural Maharashtra, empowering them to earn a source of income. The project also appoints health ambassadors to conduct sessions on sex education and menstrual health along with training on how to use the kit safely. Project Inaayat uplifts women in all aspects – health, wealth and happiness!
The advantages of using cloth sanitary napkins are:
- Easy to use
- Dries quickly as uses less water
- Saves monthly expenditure
- Safe as no contact with plastic
- Environmental friendly
If India can give birth to Padman, it can definitely give birth to Padwomen also. Empowering and training these women to start their own micro-enterprise is a great way to boost their self-esteem and a sense of hygiene. If these women can take care of themselves and stay away from infections then, in turn, they will be a happier soul and will be able to take care of their family in a better way.
Buying the re-usable sanitary napkins not only saves this earth but also brings a smile to the ladies of the village. They are now provided with a source earning income and can put their skill to use. Click To Tweet
Though cloth sanitary napkins have come in the market, however, I was not approached by the college or any student to promote their product. I was impressed with the concept of affordable pads for rural women thus penned it.
Source of content and pictures: Enactus H.R College Facebook Page, Project Inayaat Facebook Page
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