Going organic and using chemical-free products is almost becoming a way of life in urban India. But that doesn’t apply to everything, especially not things like sanitary napkins, when there is still a taboo around talking about menstrual cycles. When about 353 million women and adolescent girls have to dispose of menstrual waste in India, it has a chance of creating a huge bio-hazard.
Women from an NGO called Kanika in Thrissur, Kerala, are here to change that, by making organic napkins. Their intention is to make bio-degradable, eco-friendly sanitary napkins called 'Soukhyam', which means 'wellness' in Malayalam. They make around 200 packets of Soukhyam in a month from a single room, with the help of around 50 people, who are all part of Kanika and most of whom are women and senior citizens.
“We are done with our liabilities at this age. Our children have moved out and settled in other places and we are our own masters now. So we all get together and do whatever we are capable of in our own right,”
Girija, one of the members of Kanika, told The News Minute.
They started making sanitary napkins almost a year ago, after being inspired by Arunachalam Muruganantham. They got in touch with Muruganantham and got the required machines from him.
“We were inspired by the mission of Arunachalam Muruganantham of Coimbatore, the award-winning social entrepreneur popularly known as the ‘menstrual man of India’. We use the machinery and technology developed by him,”
Vasanthi Gopalan, Founder of Kanika, told The Hindu.
Fifty packets of Soukhyam are being sent to nearby girls’ homes every month, and they keep the remaining for themselves. They sell one packet consisting of 10 pads at a price of Rs 43, and they do not plan on doing it on a large scale. They sell only to people who know about the pads and ask for them, because commercialising it would put on them more pressure, which they do not want.