Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 6
To provide a ‘Trash free, Rash Free and Cash Free’ periods to women of Punjab, particularly in rural areas, ‘Mata Amritanandamayi Math’, a Kerala-based NGO is shortly going to launch ‘Saukhyam Pads’ in the villages here. Having already spread its wings in Pathankot, the pads are also available online.
As Saukhyam means happiness and well being, Saukhyam pads are dedicated to the menstrual well-being of women and girls. Being one of the leading reusable sanitary pad brands, these pads provide a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional sanitary napkins that contribute to the problems of waste and climate change. Saukhyam is a project of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math, an NGO with consultative status to the UN’s ECOSOC. The Math is led by Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, revered globally as a spiritual and humanitarian leader.
Available at a comparatively inexpensive prices, the pads follow the principles of sustainability and the circular economy. “These are made using banana fibre and cotton cloth. The banana fiber used in the pads is a type of cellulose fibre but with a key difference. No living trees are cut to extract this fibre. It is an excellent absorbent that is obtained from agro-waste. A Saukhyam pad set lasts for 4-5 years and is available for less than Rs 300. Those switching to reusable pads now no longer need to spend Rs 100 (or more) on monthly disposable pad purchases,” said, Anju Bist, Co-director, Amrita SeRVe project of the NGO.
The sustainable pads are made by women in self-help groups in the Amrita serve villages. The Amrita serve project was started in 2013 by Amma to bring in sustainable development.
Saukhyam Reusable Pads were honoured with the ‘Most Innovative Product Award Initiative (2016) by the National Institute of Rural Development, India. The project was lauded at UN Climate Change Conference (2028), in Poland for its sustainable financing mechanism. In 2020, the Saukhyam team was recognised as the Social Enterprise of the Year for its ‘exceptional impact, clarity and growth of work dedicated to furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals,’ from the women for India and Social Founder Network coalition.
Anju further said, “Menstruation is still considered a taboo in the Indian society. The main reasons for this taboo still being relevant in the Indian society are a high rate of illiteracy especially in girls, poverty, and lack of awareness about menstrual health and hygiene. Only less than 18 percent of Indian women use sanitary pads. Saukhyam pads are continuously working towards changing this scenario in India. Aligned with the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign, they are trying to prevent environmental catastrophe caused by using traditional sanitary napkins and increase the menstrual hygiene quotient of women across India through various programmes. So far, more than 50,000 of these pads sold and have helped eliminate 875 tons of non-biodegradable menstrual waste. The pads are also helping prevent the emission of 40.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. Hence, these reusable pads are both pocket and environment-friendly.
There are about 8 million women of menstruating age in Punjab and an average woman uses 12-15 sanitary napkins per month. The non-biodegradable pads pollute for 500-800 years, adds Anju
Anuradha Singh, who works in a private company, said, she got to know about reusable pads through the Internet and she really feels that the pads are sustainable. “Instead of buying pads every month, I prefer to use these pads and after an easy wash, they also dry quick,” added Anuradha.
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