Bleed With Pride
In India only 12 % of India's 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins and remaining 88% of women cannot afford sanitary napkins instead they use unhygienic substances such as Newspaper, Sand, Leaves, Mud or Unsterilized clothes/rags.
Such unhygienic practices lead to Itching,Burning,Vaginal and Urinary Tract Infections,Infertility and other reproductive health complications, Cervical Cancer and even Death during child birth. Cervical cancer alone kills around 73,000 women in India every year, says the report by Cervical Cancer Free Coalition.
According to survey conducted by UNICEF
1) 80% of surveyed women store their menstrual cloth in a hidden dirty place for repeated use.
2) 40% Failed to change their cloths frequently or wash them with soap after use.They are too ashamed to wash their sanitary clothes in open and wear over soaked and dirty cloth for entire day without change.
3) 50% Failed to dry their menstrual rags outside and in full sun which is an essential condition required to kill bacteria.Lack of privacy, safety and toilets making things worst.
4) At least 1 in 5 Indian girls drop out of school due to Mensuration. Combined with a social stigma that has been handed down for generations, many girls feel too ashamed to go to school at all, with up to a quarter of schoolgirls in India leaving school when they reach puberty.
Shikoabad is a small village in Uttar Pradesh where a woman of 42 years died because she used a blouse piece as a sanitary napkin. She died of tetanus when the metal hook of the blouse entered her body.There are many such stories and surprisingly women have considered them as their fate. While talking to these women, I realized it's not that all of them are not aware of the benefits of using napkins but still they don't use because they cannot afford it.
Mensuration linked to shame and taboos so nobody suppose to see you disposing. Menstrual waste often thrown in rivers/ponds affecting the primary source of drinking water, or burned, affecting the air. For most women who lack household sanitation, menstruation is managed in open fields, posing safety risks. Inappropriate disposal of menstrual waste also exposes a vulnerable segment of Indian society—that is, manual scavengers, informal household waste collectors and sanitation system caretakers—to potential health risks.
There is a need of appropriate investment to ensure that disposable sanitary napkins are biodegradable to avoid adverse environmental and health effects.Conventional sanitary pads use plastic, chlorine-bleached wood pulp and chemicals. In India, pads create 150,000 tons of waste annually, most of this waste sits in landfills for 600 years, or worse, is burned- generating CO2.
To begin with we will provide napkins free of cost in Slums , Government Schools, Hospitals ,Construction sites, Villages and Rural areas to make people aware of the cause. Once women get use to hygiene we will ask nominal rate per napkin and that too only if they can afford it . For those who cannot afford it, we will provide them these free of cost.
We are keeping nominal rate of 2.5 Rs (0.039 $) per napkin because we want this project to self sustain and enable people to make their living out of it.
"With this low costing, in just 250 Rs (i.e. 3.80 $) women will be able to buy an year's supply of Sanitary pads for herself".