Meet the ‘Padwoman’ from Goa who produces bio-degradable sanitary pads at home

Jayshree Parwar is producing biodegradable sanitary pads that are mostly made from pine wood paper. The self-help group led by her has produced and marketed over 2,000 pads since 2015.

Meet the ‘Padwoman’ from Goa who produces bio-degradable sanitary pads at home

Tuesday September 17, 2019,

4 min Read

Even today, menstruation in India is considered a taboo. When it comes to menstrual health and hygiene, more awareness needs to be raised and more people need to be educated. However, what is laudable is that state governments along with various NGOs and individuals have taken a positive step towards addressing the issues surrounding menstruation.

Working in this direction is Jayshree Parwar from Goa, who along with three of her friends is producing biodegradable sanitary pads.

Biodegradable sanitary pads, as we all know, are environment-friendly, and the aim is to also make them cost-effective.
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Jayshree Parwar (Image: Indian Women Blog)

Jayshree leads the women’s Self-Help Group, Saheli, in Mulgao village in Bicholim taluka, around 45 km from Panjim, Goa, which in 2015 started a venture to manufacture eco-friendly and bio-degradable sanitary napkins.

These sanitary pads are mostly made from pine wood paper, though the facility also uses silicon paper, butter paper, non-woven cloth, and cotton. It produces 100 pads a day with the help of four machines, and till date, Saheli has produced and marketed over 2,000 pads.

The napkins, called Sakhi, have gained international fame, and are also being sold in other countries through online channels.

Speaking to NDTV, Jayshree said,

"We did not get an overwhelming response from locals, it was moderate. But online demand is huge.”

She adds,

“The basic problem with the regular sanitary pads is that they are not easily degradable after use. But the ones we manufacture are made of pinewood paper. So, after use, the pads are buried in mud and they degrade within eight days.”

The inspiration behind the cause

Jayshree was inspired by social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, also known as the Padman of India, who made affordable and bio-degradable pads for women.

Arunachalam Muruganantham enticing the audience with his magical talk.

Arunachalam Muruganantham enticing the audience with his story.

Speaking to T2 online, Jayshree said,

“A common friend introduced me to Muruganathan sir a few years ago, and I was so inspired after meeting him that I decided, no matter what, I will work to make sanitation issues better in our village first, and later in our country. There was no looking back. I put together a group of 10 women from the village who, after some reluctance, agreed to work with me.”

But it was not a smooth ride for Jayshree, as she failed to muster a favourable response in the beginning.

According to the Indian Women Blog, when Jayshree set up stalls in exhibitions at villages, people would turn around just by looking at the sanitary pads, but those who were aware, would come and buy it.

The production

“I am in a federation of women made up of many self-help groups, and one day we were asked that who would like to take up the manufacturing of eco-friendly sanitary pads. And I was the one to take up the work. And why not make eco-friendly sanitary pads? The main component of it is the pinewood paper. This pad when buried in mud gets degraded within eight days”, Jayashree told the Indian Women Blog.
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Image: Indian Women Blog

The entire production process takes place at Jayshree’s house and in the process of manufacturing bio-degradable sanitary pads, she is also providing livelihood to the women in her village. Each group comprises 10 women who donate Rs 200 per month, which is then given to those women who want to start their own business.

These pads are available online on, and in the future Jayshree wants to open stores across India to make the product accessible to all.

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)

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