- Community funding
- Creating awareness and mitigating the stigma around menstruation
- Providing good quality sanitary pads at affordable prices right at the doorstep through confidante distribution network
All of this points to the underlying truth that most of our women are not using sanitary pads. There are two primary reasons for this. Firstly, the product isn’t easily available to all. The Government’s sanitary pads distribution operations are carried out by the Education department, with free sanitary pads being provided to girl students in Government schools. While this serves the purpose of incentivising education for girls, it automatically excludes menstruating women who have crossed the school-going age, or girls who aren’t enrolled in schools in the first place. This system also fails to provide during vacations, or other extraordinary situations (such as a pandemic!). Due to this erratic nature of supply of sanitary pads, it isn’t being adopted by women widely, and they prefer to rely on archaic (and usually unsafe) methods of menstrual hygiene. The second major reason is widespread stigma surrounding anything to do with menstruation. Even if such products are made available, just the prospect of walking down to the store to purchase sanitary pads is a shameful and daunting ordeal for many.
Panchi aims to tackle both these problems:
- Setting up Gel pad making machines, run entirely by women would not only ensure the availability of good quality sanitary pads, but additionally each machine would guarantee employment and financial independence for 30 women employees
- Another singular feature of Panchi is that the distribution of pads would be done by ASHA workers, school teachers, local women leaders etc. These women are well-ingrained and respected in the communities they live in, and are approachable. This would mitigate the stigma and encourage more and more women to switch to sanitary pads. In addition to this, Panchi would also work on spreading awareness and eradicating stigma and attitudes of shame surrounding menstruation