This social entrepreneur brings menstrual health, women’s empowerment to the forefront

Taboo, no more! Prachi Kaushik aims to transform rural India by promoting female entrepreneurship and raising awareness about menstrual health.

This social entrepreneur brings menstrual health, women’s empowerment to the forefront

Monday October 17, 2022,

4 min Read

It’s 2022, and India is still reeling under the “taboo” that’s menstruation. However, some women are not deterred. Meet Prachi Kaushik—our protagonist for today.

Prachi has long battled the stigma associated with periods, and she has been successful in creating a good narrative. And along this journey, she has enabled women to be healthy, financially independent, and become entrepreneurs in their own right.

As the founder and director of Vyomini Social Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, she aims to promote entrepreneurship among the underprivileged sections of India.

Her plan: To transform rural India by supporting female entrepreneurs and talking more about reproductive health. Her approach promotes women's independence and sharpens their marketing and commercial acumen.

With Vyomini, Prachi established the first sanitary ware incubator centre in India, teaching women how to create sanitary products. The company installs vending machines in offices and educates staff members about menstrual health.


Prachi while conducting a workshop for women

Starting Vyomini

Hailing from Jhajjar City in Haryana, Prachi says, “My parents did not have the economic status to pay my school fees. Hence, I started earning from a young age by providing tuition to young children.

“I started working on women’s empowerment at the age of 16. I joined an NGO and was involved in various women’s empowerment projects,” she shares.

After graduating from Delhi University, she worked with local NGOs and joined the Ministry of Women and Child Development, hoping to help solve the issue of access to sanitary napkins.

Frustrated by the slow progress, Prachi decided to start Vyomini. As a social worker, Prachi underwent training to understand the basics of running a business and scaling it up, besides being an entrepreneur.

She completed her entrepreneurship training under Skill India Mission at the National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Noida. 

“After 10 years, I realised the two important issues for women — health and economic empowerment. If we can help them gain their economic status and health, the rest of it they can decide and do better.”

“Usually, women do not have an easy platform to grow themselves compared to men. They need to face numerous challenges to reach somewhere,” the 35-year-old entrepreneur tells SocialStory.

She aims to support women by “3As” —Awareness, Affordability, and Accessibility.


After the Vyomini team identifies women who wish to be entrepreneurs, it understands their skill sets, gives them training, and enhances their skills to set up their businesses.

Under its Entrepreneurship Development Support (EDS), the company offers training and capacity building, market linkages, bank and government schemes linkages, and micro-enterprise development.

Vyomini has trained nearly 5,000 women under the programme and linked around 500 women to income-generating activities.

In the past two years, it has organised nearly 50 EDP workshops with self-help groups (SHGs), women’s associations, youths, prisoners released from jails, and the transgender community.

It has done so with the support of NIESBUD, National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), and Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), Haryana Rural Development Mission. Vyomini has set up a capacity-building centre at Hisar, Haryana, for SHGs under the Aajeevika Mission of the National Rural Livelihood Mission.

Promoting healthcare

Vyomini has a reproductive health programme, which enables widespread awareness campaigns regarding menstrual health and hygiene. It also provides intensive counselling, sensitisation camps, and workshops on sustainable sanitary practices.

The team also teaches women how to manufacture and sell sanitary napkins. These, sold under Vyomini’s in-house brand called Rakshak, are affordably priced at Rs 20 for six napkins.


Rakshak sanitary pads kept for sale

Besides, the company helps domestic violence victims get help from good lawyers. “We also refer them to good hospitals, get them treated by good doctors, and address their social and psychological concerns. We want to help women lead a mainstream life,” shares Prachi.

According to Prachi, her company has enabled nearly 10 lakh women covered in its menstrual health management programme to use hygienic materials.

As of now, Vyomini is present in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Delhi-NCR.

As per future plans, Prachi wishes to set up an incubation centre in every district in India, so that women can get the required training without travelling to metro cities. 

(This story was updated with additional information on Prachi Kaushik.)

Edited by Suman Singh