From biodegradable sanitary napkins to using martial arts to fight sexual abuse - top social stories for this week

Jayshree Pawar is manufacturing biodegradable sanitary pads to save the environment. Actor and martial artist Ishita Sharma trains students to fight sexual abuse.

From biodegradable sanitary napkins to using martial arts to fight sexual abuse - top social stories for this week

Saturday September 21, 2019,

3 min Read

While all types of pollution remains a continuing problem in India, researchers at IIT-Madras have found an eco-friendly way to degrade varieties of harmful plastic. This will, in the long run, reduce the plastic waste that goes to the landfills.

Meanwhile, in Goa, Jayshree Pawar is bringing groups of women together to manufacture biodegradable sanitary pads and save the environment. These are both eco-friendly and cost-effective.

This week, we also showcase stories of other individuals and organisations contributing to the welfare of the society.

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

When it comes to menstrual health and hygiene, more awareness needs to be raised and more people need to be educated.

Jayshree Parwar

Jayshree Parwar (Image: Indian Women Blog)

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

Researchers at IIT-Madras find eco-friendly way to degrade plastic

To curb the plastic menace and bring plastic pollution under control, many experts and scientists across the world are working on alternate solutions.

Abhijit Nag and T Pradeep

Abhijit Nag and T Pradeep (Image: The Hindu)

Among them is a team from IIT-Madras that has found a way to successfully degrade several varieties of plastic-like, Teflon, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

To give a specific instance, the team degraded chemically inert and physically stable plastic fluoropolymer - polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) of which Teflon is made, through an eco-friendly way.

Meet the actor-cum-martial artist who is empowering girls to fight sexual violence with self-defence lessons

Ishita Sharma

Ishita Sharma, Founder and Managing Trustee, MukkaMaar.

Women’s safety is of paramount importance in today’s world. And it’s imperative for women to learn to defend themselves. To this end, Ishita Sharma, an actor-cum-martial artist, started MukkaMaar, a Mumbai-based organisation that trains students in different forms of martial art, self-defence techniques, and mental strength exercises.

The three-year, free-of-cost engagement programme focuses on multiple aspects surrounding physical fitness, emotional stability, and sensitisation towards abuse, solidarity, and legal counsel.

Till date, the organisation has empowered and touched the lives of a whopping 3,000 girls across 47 schools in Mumbai, in a span of a year.

How NIRMAN is making a difference by enabling students and youth to become changemakers

NIRMAN organisation

NIRMAN Organisation, Gadchiroli Maharashtra (Image:

Conceived by Dr Rani and Dr Abhay Bang, NIRMAN, under the aegis of its parent company SEARCH - Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health, was initiated in 2006 to address the developmental challenges faced by Indian youth, and to hone leadership and potential across the country.

NIRMAN conducts a series of three workshops, each comprising eight days, every six months in its green campus at Gadchiroli. NIRMAN youth work full-time on specific social challenges in different parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Assam, Odisha, Karnataka, Delhi and Bihar.

These 5 social activists show that everyone can make a difference by taking small steps

From Vithika Yadav, who aims to change the way the youth view love, relationships, and sex, to Sarada Menon, who established one of India’s first schizophrenia research centres, and seven-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam, a number of social activists are working to create a huge impact in different fields.

Sarada Menon

Sarada Menon, Founder of SCARF India (Image:

We feature five social activists who are being the change, they wish to see in this world.

(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)