The local 'Padman' of Kalyani- The adventures of a young | Milaap

The local 'Padman' of Kalyani- The adventures of a young visionary on his road to revolution

Most of us have heard (if not seen though) about last year's promotional activities done by ace superstar Akshay Kumar right before his film on the biography of Padmashree Arunachalam Muruganantham. Padmashree Arunachalam Muruganantham is known for his invention of low-costing sanitary pad-making machines in India. Well in his case, the innovation was majorly due to the necessity that he faced in his personal life. However, I have come across such a man myself who has tried to contribute in his small way in this sector. Sayak Banerjee, a resident of a small town called Kalyani in West Bengal decided to work for the crisis that is faced by most of the school girls of his town.

Sayak along with few of his friends who named themselves “US” (not the country, but the symbol for unity and togetherness) thought of bringing in the concept of 'Pad-vending machines' in a place where nobody could even think of it. On being asked about how this idea first came to his mind, he replied, "A friend of mine named Sohini who one day while having a walk told me if I could do anything for the sanitary issue prevailing in India." Sayak has been involved in various public relations activities since his college days. He used to organize events on a college level during various youth festivals. This experience on his part worked as an advantage when he started working towards his dream project.

During the time when this initiative was taken, crowd funding was not a very common option amongst the general lot. That is why Sayak thought of using his capabilities in order to arrange for a lump sum amount of money for the purpose. Sayak and his team organized a Holi festival called "RangHoli" in their locality with the intention to spread equality among the masses. He says, "We enjoyed Holi with 1000+ people, collecting enough money from tickets to donate sanitary pad vending machine to nearby rural schools. The project was a success not because it gained public attention but it created enough stir in Kalyani, where girls of class 7 and 8 were proudly walking up and collecting pads from the machine."

They took the help of the local municipality in this venture. They started off with just two schools as they wanted to have a qualitative not quantitative approach in the initiative. With the money that they could collect by selling tickets for the festival, they could buy two pad vending machines for the schools. Not only did they buy the machines but also they had ample number of pads for the proper maintenance and refilling of the machines for a few months.

They organized seminars where the boys and girls were given sessions on proper sanitary hygiene to promote and mediate the understanding and acceptance of the project. When asked about how he feels about his venture, Sayak proudly says, "I was amused by the active participation of all the students irrespective of their genders. Our motive to spread the wholesome awareness was successful to some extent. We could never imagine of getting such a positive response in a short span of time". The best part being that the team had been approached by seven other schools in the area for the same project. While there is a lot more work to be done, "US" is busy collecting funds for their future endeavors.

As for the effect of the undertaking, the team itself has now a better understanding of what needs to be done and how the localites who once were ignorant to the matter and in a way part of the problem are now contributing to the solution and elimination of the problem. To the best of my understanding I can say that this undertaking on their part was a sign of both creativity and development that exceeds most of our current society and most certainly something that we can take inspiration from.