New Delhi: Located on an obscure street in Haiderpur village, is a compact establishment run entirely by women that is doing its bit to better the dismal state of women's health in India by manufacturing cost-effective, quality sanitary napkins.
With 88 per cent Indian women following an unhealthy menstrual management practices, the joint initiative by Roca's “We Are Water” Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit housing organisation, aims to reach 50,000 underprivileged women in Delhi.
"Affordable pads means girls won't have to miss school. I'm hopeful they'll continue to mobilise women and kill the taboo surrounding the issue. By conducting a survey and discussing with people we have already started a discourse in the community," 36-year-old Babita, mother to two daughters and a resident of the Badli Mor in Haiderpur village, said.
"Women here are either unemployed or work as labourers and domestic maids. An opportunity to do meaningful work is a step towards dignified life," Sonali, a local, said.
The foundation was responsible for setting up the machinery and production unit, procurement of raw materials, market sensitisation, and training of workers.
The day-to-day operations fall under the purview of Sahyog Care For You, an NGO experienced in promotion of programmes for sanitation, education, and livelihood of women.
"Mobilisation started in June and we opened the unit on July 11. At present, we’re mostly selling to 45 SHGs, but we're also doing individual sales," Sakshi Mathur, director (operations), NGO, said.
The unit currently manufactures around 80 packets a day and aims to gradually double the numbers. One packet is sold bet-ween Rs16 to Rs 20, but has an MRP of Rs 32. She said the women who work here earn Rs4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month.
Mr K.E. Ranganathan, MD, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd, said, "This project is innovative in its approach because it looks at technological innovation as a development process for the women living in the slums. It materialises the cause of income generation and looks into the health and sanitation issues of women.”
"Women involved in packaging and distribution of the pads were eager to work with us because our packaging carries the logo of Roca, Sahyog and Habitat. We've talked to ASHA and Anganwadi workers for selling these products,” Renu and Firdoz, production workers, said.