Hi, I am Vedant Agrawal from Neerja Modi School, Jaipur, and I am running this campaign to raise money to provide women, in rural areas with no access to menstrual sanitation, with reusable sanitary pads.
During my internship at Praveen Lata Sansthan under the initiative The Spotless Dame (Bedag Nari), I learnt about the environmental, social, psychological and cultural barriers faced by women in rural areas related menstruation and the use of disposable sanitary pads. I worked with the organization at the grassroot level and learnt how to save the environment by creating awareness around menstruation and supporting menstrual sanitation for women with no access to facilities.
Through this initiative, I will also be able to provide sustainable employment opportunities for girls and women who are involved in making reusable sanitary cloth pads made of bamboo charcoal, which is not only safe for female health but also the environment.
Why is there “a Need for Action”?
Every menstruating female has to go through the monthly ordeal of physical pain and discomfort. To add to this, many families in India are unable to bear the costs of disposable sanitary pads, and thus women need to resort to the usage of home-grown alternatives like old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay, and plastic during periods. The usage of such materials leads to many infections and diseases.
Even women who are able to purchase disposable sanitary pads, suffer multiple vaginal infections due to the toxic chemicals from which the disposable sanitary pads are made.
The disposal of menstrual pads is also a significant issue as manual labourers segregating waste in dump yards expose themselves to risks such as severe stomach cramps, tetanus, hepatitis and HIV.
How can you contribute?
I aim to reach out the last mile women who have no access to menstrual sanitation. I plan to raise funds for 4000 reusable cloth pads which are made of bamboo charcoal and are an alternative to disposable sanitary napkins.
Each cloth pad costs ₹100. The pads can be washed 120 times by a woman after using for periods. The pads are environmentally friendly, leak-proof, non-toxic and anti-microbial.
I look forward to your support. Your contribution can begin from as little as ₹100 for one sanitary pad to any number of pads. Be a part of the change!
Some facts & figures that are bound to shake you.
- 14% of girls in India reportedly suffer from menstrual infections owing to lack of hygienic sanitary products.
- 20% of girls in India drop out of school after reaching puberty while 28% of school girls in India avoid going to school during their period owing to lack of knowledge.
- 63 million adolescent girls have no access to facilities like toilets and sanitation, resulting in skipping school for 20% of the year due to menstruation, which is the second major reason after household work.
- 121 million girls are using disposable sanitary napkins without knowing that some of these products pose health hazards due to their chemical components (dioxin, furan, pesticides and other endocrine disruptors), causing cancer, harmonic disruption, reproductive toxicity, skin irritation and other long term health problems.
- 88% of menstruating women in India have been using home-grown alternatives like old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay, and plastic leading to a 70% increase in Reproductive Tract Infections
- An average woman disposes around 150 kg of non-biodegradable waste in a lifetime. The disposable sanitary napkins are made of mainly plastic and synthetic chemical components. The plastic layer which is used to make it stain-free and the chemicals used in producing it get further transferred between soil, water, and air, harming the environment. These are not only hazardous to health but also to the environment as an average sanitary pad after disposal would stay in the environment for 500 to 800 years to decompose in landfill.